A bus driver in Georgia’s Haralson County was fired by the school district after posting a Facebook status about a student. If the bus driver had written something degrading against the student or specifically named a child in his post, his dismissal may have been warranted. The driver, however, was simply using the Facebook post to make the case that the children’s lunch program needs to be revised.
The driver, Johnny Cook, posted his comments after a student who was riding the bus informed him that the school denied the boy lunch because his account was empty. The post reads, in full, as follows (via NBC 11 Atlanta):
“A lil flustered this evening.
A middle schooler got on my bus this evening and said mr johnny im hungry. I said why are you hungry buddy? Didn't you eat lunch ? He said no sir I didn't have any money on my account. I said they would let you charge it? No sir.
Huh! What! This child is already on reduced lunch and we can't let him eat. Are you kidding me? I'm certian there was leftover food thrown away today. But kids were turned away because they didn't have .40 on there account .
As a tax payer, I would much rather feed a child than throw it away. I would rather feed a child than to give food stamps to a crack head.
My number is 770 871 8811 the next time we can't feed a kid for forty cent, please call me . We will scrape up the money. This is what the world has come to”
In response to the post, the school district informed Cook that he could either be suspended for two weeks after issuing a public apology via Facebook, or lose his position as a bus driver without issuing an apology. Cook chose to stand by his statement and he was relieved of his duties by the district.
Cook’s story captured the attention of the ACLU, which is supporting Cook as he fights back against the district. According to MyFoxAtlanta, Cook, his attorneys and the ACLU are claiming that the driver’s First Amendment rights were violated. The school district is arguing that Cook violated its social media policy, which prevents employees from using the network for critical reasons.