School Bus Driver Fired For Venting on Facebook About Kids Being Refused Free Lunch (VIDEO)

You know the old saying "There's no such thing as a free lunch"? Apparently this adage is all too true in one metro Atlanta school district, at least according to Johnny Cook, a bus driver for Haralson County Middle School. A former bus driver, that is. When Cook shared his frustrations on Facebook over a child in need being denied a free lunch, he lost his job.

According to Cook, his superintendent gave him one chance to avoid being fired -- but it would have involved deleting the Facebook post and issuing a public apology. Cook refused, and if you ask me, it sounds like he had good reason for doing so.

Cook says that last Tuesday, one of the students on his bus route told him he'd had to go without a meal that day when he couldn't afford his reduced lunch fee -- even though the school has a policy of providing any student in need with a free sandwich.

I said, 'So you didn't get to eat at all? And he said, 'No sir, I didn't get to eat anything. I had to put my tray back.'

That night, Cook posted the following on Facebook:

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 certain 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 (…) 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.

Superintendent Brett Stanton says that not only should Cook have gone to the school about the problem, the district found no evidence the incident occurred. Stanton also says that he's never received a complaint about a student being denied food in the five years he's been with the schools, despite the fact that multiple Haralson County parents posted on Cook's Facebook account that their children had also gone hungry when they didn't have money for their lunch.

I guess the bottom line here is that no matter how righteous you may believe your cause to be, complaining about your workplace on Facebook is never a good idea if you want to keep your job. Cook should have gone through the proper channels first before venting on social media.

However, if the school's stated policy is to provide a free meal for students who can't pay and they're not doing so -- well, good for Cook for stirring up this much attention over the topic. For those who support what he did, there's a petition for the Haralson School District of Tallapoosa, GA to give Mr. Cook his job back.

Here's a video on Johnny Cook's story thus far:

Do you think this bus driver was in the wrong by posting his feelings on Facebook? Should he get his job back?

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fleur... fleurdelys3110

The thing I find most remarkable about this story is that the middle school student in question supposedly called his bus driver "sir"!

nonmember avatar bruce

What is the issue here? His boss was right, you do not run and vent on facebook about something that happened at work. He was told to apologize for venting, the presumption is he would be fired if he did not, he did not, and he was fired. Furthermore, he was told he should report the incident. It sounded to me like they would do something about it if people would just let them know rather than venting on facebook. Sounds reasonable to me. Finally, if he felt so bad about the incident, why did he not give the kid some lunch money?

Gypsy... GypsyMa76

I hope this kid didn't go hungry, but it's a damn shame this man lost his job because he cared. Social media is a soap box & I'm sure he meant his post to hurt anyone, just help . Hopefully a district near him will realize it & give this man a job. He obviously is a good caring man.


bills... billsfan1104

There is no proof that this happened. The kid is in middle school, so he should of been old enough to say something. What this man did was wrong because he didn't check to see if it was true first.

zaksm... zaksmommy12

I have had my life threatened on a few occasions from someone on facebook and the cops said nothing could be done about it because it's free speech on fb but this guy can lose his job from something he said on there? Something doesn't seem right with this.

nonmember avatar kaerae

@zaksmommy - Where so you live, Keystone? It is illegal to threaten someone's life electronically. Your freedom of speech does not extend to threatening someone's life, never has. It is grounds for a protective order, and you should talk to your county attorney if the cops really said that, which I doubt.

Shandi80 Shandi80

FB is a privately owned company, so "freedom of speech" does not apply. There's at least five stories in the last week that I can think of, where what someone said on Facebook has gotten them arrested, fired, or both.

Tabitha Renee Robinson

it sucks that this man who cares lost his job over this and that a child may or may not have gone hungry they have done it to my niece so i know it does happen whatever the school says!

zaksm... zaksmommy12

I have no reason to lie. My son's paternal grandmother has threatened to run my mother over, burn my house down with everyone inside, all kinds of things and the police said there was nothing they could do because simply it was put on facebook she has the freedom to say what she wants and they can't tell if it is really her saying it even if it's on her own page. They pretty much told us we could be signing on there putting whatever we want to get her in trouble. I live in Alabama. We have tried many many different officers and even going to her p.o. nothing can or will be done. Even have picture evidence. Would you like me to e-mail you that?

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