ACLU takes case of bus driver fired over Facebook posting

12:02 AM, Feb 28, 2014   |    comments
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Johnny Cook, at his home in Haralson County, Thursday, June 6, 2013

HARALSON COUNTY, Ga. -- The ACLU is now suing the Haralson County school district after a bus driver was fired for posting negative comments on Facebook.

Johnny Cook said that he was terminated from his job after he made a post about a child who he said was refused a free lunch.

Cook said he had no regrets about writing the post, which read:

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.
...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.

The next day, Cook said he was given an ultimatum by the district, which told him he could apologize and correct his critical comments on Facebook with a two-week suspension or be fired.

Cook refused to apologize and was let go by the district. In his termination papers, the district said that Cook had violated the district's social media policy. 

The ACLU is now taking up the case, saying that Cook was wrongly terminated. They say the firing violated Cook's right to free speech.

When the incident happened, Haralson County leaders told 11Alive that the lunch incident never happened, but the school board has since approved a program that serves free breakfast and lunch to all students. The district did not comment on the lawsuit.

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