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I felt helpless trying to get the best for her," she said. "She seemed to be having to do this to earn money, so I thought of using it for anything other than buying my daughter the best food."
A few hours later, the woman who owned the chicken, Gertrude K. Williams, pulled a chair across from the store. Williams was dressed in a black long-sleeved shirt, black jeans and a green t-shirt.
"I am not sorry. I think she should give it back. It was the best chicken we bought," Williams said.
The customer's mother, who declined to give her name for fear of reprisals, said her daughter had just gotten the chicken for a birthday feast. Her mother was sitting on her lap.
"Her father was there with another woman, and so I thought this was something out of the norm for her," said her mother, who called herself the "mother of the month" because she helped feed two people as well as the customer's mother.
She said that when the woman's parents asked why her daughter was eating the chicken, it was Williams who told them the store wasn't able to provide her with proper birdfeed for the bird's meat.
Williams said she told the employees not to touch the bird's meat but they were more or less ignored. In a follow-up email to the Daily News, she said she asked two store workers to bring in the chicken but was told it would have to be returned to its original owner.
She described the customer's mother as "heartbroken."
"My daughter just couldn't do this to a good cause," she said, noting that her daughter had gotten the money for the meat, she didn't want her to miss her birthday. "I don't know what to do because there's no one to give me a solution. There's no one else I can talk to."
"We were trying to help," said the customer's father, who declined to give his name because he said he is worried the woman's mother might harm the customers who are supporting her.
Dana L. O'Connor, executive vice president for human resources at New Mexico Avocados, the company owned by New Mexico Farm Supply, said that, by law, any customers in the store who want to donate food would be able to do so because the store does not have "speciality food or products."
While the store isn't trying to do anything illegal, she said, it did take down the sign in the store's food court and told customers on the way in that they needed to "bring something that's healthy and that's not a commercial item" that they could donate.
Projects under threat schools blow stimulus budgets [Washington Post, 12/11/12]
The Washington Post reported that a new report from the National Education Policy Center, a group funded by the US Department of Education, found that cuts to school safety and security programs, as well as cuts to early childhood programs, have led to a surge in school closures in recent years. The report, published in October 2012, cited concerns about the safety of children who live with special needs in school and about poor child outcomes in education:
In the past year, the number of charter schools operating in the nation has tripled, raising serious concerns about safety and security in school environments. Charter schools are increasingly being used for low-income families, people with disabilities, low-income students, students who have special needs, and others â€” among others. In some schools, children whose families were previously enrolled in traditional public school have moved in, leaving parents and children with fewer options or fewer opportunities to learn. The school closures have coincided with dramatic increases in the number of charter schoolsâ€”often in neighborhoods that previously were largely segregated in schools with public schools. In 2012, for example, just over 2 percent of charter schools operated in cities that had an adequate number of elementary and secondary students [PDF]. The National Education Policy Center's analysis of census data shows that nearly 60 percent of the closures had occurred in cities where a similar share of the city's population was formerly classified as white (47.7 percent) or black (41.6 percent). Of these, 46.8 percent were in cities where the population was less than 20 percent black. [National Education Policy Center, 12/11/12]
Teacher layoffs in Chicago:
Chicago Teachers Union's Local 915 calls out CPS for their'massive' teacher layoffs, but CPS maintains that the layoffs will save students money. [Chicago Sun-Times, 6/25/15]
CPS Chief of Staff David Schiavone: "Some districts have not shown the ability to provide our students the learning they need," but "I also think that the students [a