You've probably read stories about kids being denied school lunch - even being forced to watch as their food was thrown in the trash - over tiny debts, sometimes under a dollar.
Now the ACLU is representing an Atlanta, Georgia, bus driver who says he was fired when he made a post to social media, expressing his outrage at the plight of a hungry student denied lunch over a 40¢ debt to the school district, and offering to "scrape up the money" if that situation arose in the future.
This is what the bus driver, Johnny Cook, posted to 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 certian 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. My number is [redacted] 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 following day, he says the Haralson County District gave him an ultimatum: take down the post, accept a two-week suspension and apologize or be terminated.
Cook did not apologize, and now the ACLU is saying that his termination for violating the district's "social media policy" was a violation of his first amendment rights.
The school is claiming the incident that inspired Cook's post never happened, but the school board has already approved a program that will provide free breakfast and lunch to all students.
Via Alive 11 Atlanta