Interesting case over free speech involving bus driver and free lunches

 Barbra Streisand

ACLU takes case of bus driver fired over Facebook posting | 

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:


First read what he wrote on Facebook:

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

He was fired for those words. They do not seem unreasonable to me and it does seem like a great restriction of his free speech by a government entity.

But it also shows the wrongheadedness of authoritarian approaches. Instead of taking an adaptive, win-win approach – such as recognizing there was a screw up and fixing it (which they actually did eventually do) – they took a zero-sum one that authoritarians always seem to follow.

And now they get to see exactly what happens in the Information Age with something called the Streisand effect.

In essence, the attempt to use authoritarian pressures to hide or to create unnecessary zero-sum solutions gets pushed back by emerging social norms. This involves shining such a strong spotlight on the egregious behavior that even authoritarians learn the lesson – seek win-win solutions first.