The Blog

Georgia Bus Driver Fired for Complaint About School Lunch Program

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Johnny Cook has been driving for Haralson County Middle School in suburban Atlanta for years. But no longer. Cook was fired for making the following post 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 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

That compassionate post was followed by others by parents in Haralson County and elsewhere complaining about similar incidents where their children had been denied lunches because their accounts had gone into arrears.

School superintendent Brett Stanton said that Cook never came to the school about the problem. He claimed that the district looked into the incident after the fact and found no evidence that it had occurred.

I contacted Stanton to arrange an interview, but he never responded to my email. Like many other employers, the Haralson County School System has a policy against employees criticizing them in public. Cook was offered his job back, provided that he agreed to withdraw his comment from Facebook.

"They told me I could go back on Facebook and recant what I said and publicly apologize and take two weeks unpaid leave next year, or they could terminate me," Cook told the Times-Georgian. "I chose termination because I believe that child was telling the truth."

Over 4,000 people have so far signed a petition on demanding "Give Johnny Cook His Job Back And Apologize Publicly To Him On Facebook..."

Johnny Cook told Atlanta's Fox 5 that he is contemplating a run for school board. Go Johnny, go!