Johnny Cook was a bus driver in Haralson County, Georgia, who was fired for making a controversial Facebook post.
He wrote the post after discovering that one of his middle-school passengers was hungry because his lunch card was 40 cents short that day, reports the website Little Things.
Cook, who was upset by the revelation, took to Facebook and posted the following summary of what happened:
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 [certain] there was leftover food thrown away today. But kids were turned away because they didn’t have .40 on [their] 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.
The post quickly went viral, and was shared more than 2,000 times, reports the Huffington Post.
It also quickly got him fired.
Brett Stanton, Superintendent of the school, told WGCL per the Huffington Post that Cook’s post violated the school’s social media policy, which states that staff “who post or contribute any comment or content on social networking sites that causes a substantial disruption” in the school is subject to termination.
Stanton also disputes that the middle-schooler was denied lunch, declaring, “I can assure you it did not happen. The video surveillance footage clearly shows that the student never went through the lunch lines at the county middle school.”
However, popular reaction against the firing was strong. For example, a Change.org petition requesting that school authorities reinstate Cook drew over 12,000 supporters.
Public opinion did nothing to sway the Haralson County school district, though, which refused to rehire the disgruntled driver.
But Cook’s bold act might yield results after all. As a result of the incident, Superintendent Stanton announced that the school will be reviewing its policies on the matter.