His Response? WOW!!
…asked the student what was bothering him. By Carolyn Marie
on August 9, 2016 at 11:47am
The ever-evolving world of social media and the normalcy of expressing oneself online has complicated the relationship between employers and employees. One bus driver who worked for the Haralson County school district had a concerning interaction with a student. When he turned to Facebook to post his thoughts on the situation, it cost him his job.
Driver Johnny Cook noticed that one of the middle school students walking onto the bus looked troubled, so Cook asked the student what was bothering him. Cook’s heart broke when the student gave an answer.
The boy’s lunch card was 40 cents short, so he was hungry after being sent to a table in the cafeteria with an empty tray. Cook went home that night, but grew increasingly frustrated that a middle schooler went hungry over 40 cents.
He wrote a public Facebook post where he expressed these thoughts:
“A middle schooler got on my bus this evening and said, “Mr. Johnny, I’m 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 their account.”
Cook even offered his personal phone number as a contact for any child who needed money added to their account.
“My number is xxx-xxx-xxxx 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.”
Although Cook’s post quickly went viral overnight with many supportive likes and comments, the superintendent was not so pleased and asked the bus driver to step into his office. Cook was given the choice to either recant his Facebook post with an apology or be terminated for violating the district’s social media policy.
Cook refused to recant and apologize because he felt so strongly that the middle school boy who went hungry deserved a voice and apology rather than the school district. Cook was fired, and the superintendent made a statement that he is sure this incidence did not actually occur.
Even though Cook’s public stand on the issue cost him his job, he does not regret his post. He said, “I’m proud of the reaction, and I’m proud I was able to make a stand when some people may not be able to.”
Do you think this bus driver should have been terminated for violating the district’s social media policy or do you stand with Cook on his decision to take this public without a recant? Let us know when you share this post!
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