Cafeteria worker won’t return to Pocatello district

Cafeteria worker Dalene Bowden won’t be returning to work in the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District after all.

On Tuesday, Bowden told the Idaho State Journal that she had decided against accepting the district’s job offer.

Dalene Bowden
Dalene Bowden

Bowden had been fired shortly before Christmas, after she served a $1.70 lunch to an Irving Middle School student who did not have money for a meal. The district said Bowden’s actions constituted theft. In 2013, Bowden had been convicted of two counts of theft in an unrelated case, the Associated Press reported.

In the wake of widespread criticism on social media and intense news coverage, the district relented. On Dec. 23, the district offered to rehire Bowden — a move the district said it made “in the spirit of the holidays.”

Bowden was offered a job in the district’s headquarters, not at Irving, the Journal reported — and Bowden told the Journal she preferred to work with kids.