Mother of Philando Castile Helps Seniors Graduate by Paying Off Lunch Debt

Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando Castile honors her son's legacy by paying the outstanding lunch balances of high school seniors.

Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando Castile honors her son’s legacy by helping Minnesota seniors graduate by paying their outstanding lunch balances.

By Malcolm Speaks

The mother of Philando Castile, a Black man who was shot and killed three years ago by a Minneapolis-area police officer, made a major donation in order to carry on his legacy.

Philando Castile was a cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in Saint Paul, Minnesota and was known to pay for students to eat when they didn’t have money. Therefore, his mother presented a check to another high school in a nearby town in order to pay the lunch debts for hundreds of 12th-graders, thus allowing them to graduate.

Robbinsdale Cooper High School was presented with a check for $8,000 from Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile on Thursday, April 25, which will permit 334 students who previously owed money to graduate. The check came from the Philando Castile Relief Foundation, which was established to help victims who have been affected by gun and police violence as well as to help the St.Paul and Minneapolis MN school districts pay off negative school lunch balances for students.

“This is something that Philando held near and dear to his heart,” Valerie Castile said during a news conference, adding it’s just the thing her son would do as a supervisor at J.J. Hill. “He’d pay for children’s lunch meals out of his own pocket instead of letting a child go hungry that day he would pay for it himself.”

The gift is just the most recent time that Philando Castile’s mother has presented a check to a school in memory of him. In October 2017, she also presented a $10,000 check on behalf of his foundation to the school where he was employed.

Castile was pulled over by police officer Jeronimo Yanez in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, on July 6, 2016. Castiles’s partner, Diamond Reynolds and her young daughter were in the vehicle also. Castile was shot as he reached for his license and registration, which Yanex had requested. This shooting, the aftermath of which was live-streamed on Facebook by his girlfriend, occurred after Castile informed the officer that he had a gun in the car and was licensed to carry it.

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