School coach says he was fired for giving kids fruit

AZUSA, Calif. (WFLA) — A coach at a Southern California middle school thought he was a doing a good deed by redistributing unwanted school cafeteria fruit to other students, but he says it wound up getting him fired.

KNBC TV reports that parents and students are now fighting to get Arnold Villalobos his coaching job back at Center Middle School in Azusa.

Villalobos says that many students did not eat the apples, oranges and bananas that they got in the school’s lunch line. He did not like the fact that the food would go to waste, so he started collecting the fruit and he gave it to other students and athletes to eat.

“They were just going to throw it away, so I thought I would do something good,” Villalobos told KNBC TV.

Villalobos said he placed an open box in the lunch area where students could leave unwanted fruit. He then distributed the fruit on campus. Students on the school’s sports teams were also offered fruti after practice.

The former Marine told KNBC TV that he had collected the unwanted fruit for three years and had no idea he was violating the health code by re-serving it.

Parents and students protested the coach’s firing and demanded that he get his job back. Some even printed fliers and displayed them at the school.

“He’s there for the kids,” said parent Juan Olivares, who said the coach always made sure that student-athletes got home from games safely.

The California School Employees Association said it plans on looking into the case.

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