Freedom isn't free, not if you're one of the students in Atlanta's reduced lunch program or a bus driver who hates to see hungry kids.
May 29, 2013

There's no such thing as a free lunch.

As it turns out, there's no such thing as the freedom to complain about the lack of free lunches either.

Meet Johnny Cook, a bus driver for the Haralson County Middle School in Tallapoosa, Georgia, approximately 60 miles west of Atlanta. With a population of less than 2,800, I don't imagine that there's a booming job market in Tallapoosa, but Cook needs to find a new job. He was fired from his job for an entry he made on his Facebook page:

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.

Indeed. Proving once again that Facebook is nothing but an avenue from which your employers can know way too much about you and use it against you, Cook was fired.

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.

There is, perhaps, a decent argument to be made that Cook should have gone through the proper channels, although it does seem shameful that his constitutional right to free speech was abridged in this manner. The moral: stay the hell off Facebook and other social media if you want to keep your job.

Parents at Haralson County don't want to see someone who is actually speaking up for their kids to go, so there's a petition to reinstate Cook.

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