Brickbat: Leave the Driving to Us


Johnny Cook drove a bus for the Haralson County, Georgia, school system, and he got upset when a middle school student told him he didn't get to eat because his lunch card was 40 cents short. He posted about the incident on his Facebook page and said the next time that happens someone should call him and he'd pay the 40 cents. School officials fired Cook after he refused their demand to recant the post.

NEXT: Video: What if Miss Utah Gave the Correct Answer at the Miss USA Pageant?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I guess he won’t be floating any kids lunch money again any time soon.

  2. Fries, tater tots and square pizza? I’m pretty sure they never served us the three best foods at the same time.

    1. Starch with salt, starch with ketchup and starch with a genuine-artificial red tomato smear and fake cheese. Yum.

    2. Its been a long time but I think we got pizza, roll,mashed potatoes, corn and cake once.

    3. Square pizza is the worst flavor of pizza. There are parts without crust.

      1. Worse than round deep-dish?

        1. Let me make this clear as possible: There is absolutely nothing in the universe worse than square pizza.

          1. Ha!

            You forgot Epi’s “chili”.

        2. He’s talking about pizza here, not casserole.

      2. I suspect this to be satire, because the fact that there are ones where you don’t get stuck eating the crust is the best part.

        1. Clearly we need to add crust vs no crust to the deep dish/thin crust debate on H&R.

    4. School lunch pizza was always nasty.

      I went to public school in Hawaii for about 8 years, and there was only one good lunch. Kalua pork day — everyone lined up for that! Kalua pork, sticky rice, and coconut haupia square. I think there were vegetables also but I didn’t eat them. :-p

      1. Also, if you couldn’t stomach the daily offering, ther was always the saimin line which was a styrafoam cup of sad water with noodles, spam slices, and a piece of white/pink fishcake swirl (a.k.a. the japanese hot dog).

      2. Mmmm! Ono. UH cafeteria had the best bulgogi. Two scoops rice, etc.

        On the other hand, Toronto high schools had french fries with gravy, which I though were wonderful, at the time…

        1. French fries with gravy are awesome anytime.

          They phased out Ellio’s as school pizza by the time I got to 5th grade. It seems that some genius administrator (actually not sarc!) noticed that there were at least 5 actual pizza places within a mile of each school in the town and connected and used them instead.

    5. Are those tater tots? I thought they were at first, but now they look more like chicken nuggets to me.

  3. My kid will hate me once she gets school age, since I’ll be sending her with a nice brown bag instead of money. You’re having the same thing for lunch that I’m having, kid: leftovers.

    1. Growing up I preferred a bag lunch. School food was just. that. bad.

      1. School didn’t offer liverwurst sandwiches.

        1. With extra mustard. Yum!

          1. Best kid sandwich? Bologna on white bread, with yellow mustard and Utz potato chips on top.

            1. Ours was an olive loaf home. Lots of olive loaf. Which was fine with me.

              Of course, we never had white bread. Fucking Roman Meal.

      2. The things kids like the most are probably the worst things on the school menu:

        At home… fantastic. At school? Horrible.

        The only thing I really looked forward to for school lunch was the chicken nuggets. Got mashed potatos, gravy, corn, and a roll with it. Everything else was barely edible.

        1. Double Turkey Thursday was good at my high school. It was really just turkey Thursday, but we were allowed to pay an extra $2.25 or whatever a single lunch was and get twice as much of everything. Even two milks!

      3. I might have eaten at the cafeteria once. Maybe twice. Food was awful.

  4. Where we are, if a kid doesn’t have a lunch or lunch money, the cafeteria gives him a cheese sandwich and a half pint of milk.

    When my girls see something like that, they get something extra and slip it to him. We consider it to be the same as when some kids’ families can’t afford school supplies. We go to Sam’s Club and buy big boxes of pencils, loose leaf paper and such and take it to the teachers to give to them.

    1. Aww, your girls sound like sweethearts. Well done!

      1. Aww, your girls sound like sweethearts. Well done!

        Thank you. To listen to them you wouldn’t believe it, but they take after their mother.

    2. what do they do for the lactose intolerant kids?

      1. They have a zero tolerance policy for intolerance.

        1. They punch sarcasmic in the face.

          1. I spray gas propelled diarrhea in their general direction.

            1. if that’s what happens when you’re punched in the face, what happens when you’re punched in the arse?

              1. Projectile vomiting, of course.

              2. It’s what happens after I wash a cheese sandwich down with milk.

              3. if that’s what happens when you’re punched in the face, what happens when you’re punched in the arse?


  5. School lunch is come on? I think you’re burying the real story, Oliver.

  6. My outrage-ometer is barely registering with this one. If the kid didn’t eat because he didn’t have enough money, he’ll be more concerned about making sure he has lunch money in the future, like reminding a parent who may have forgotten that detail. And it’s not like the kid starved to death. He missed one meal.

    And the bus driver, whose heart was in the right place, violated a policy he knew about.

    1. Maybe the school lunch itself _is_ the outrage?

    2. So you think he knew that post would cause “substantial disruption to the instructional environment,” or that it even did? I guess he should have known that was just code for anything that casts a slightly disparaging light on the school or its administrators. I think the school system has a weak case that his post meets the standards laid out, besides being a public institution where speech should be protected.

      1. I think it’s reasonable to suspect that a Facebook post about a kid going hungry would generate a substantial amount of attention on a social networking site, and that some of said attention would get back to the school, and that it would be disruptive, unless you think angry calls from parents concerning an incident that didn’t involve their kid isn’t disruptive. How else did the superintendent know to call the driver in for a meeting “the next day”?

        Also, according to the article, it seems the school had a contingency in place for students who didn’t have enough money for the regular mean–a bagged lunch. So from the school’s perspective, the student could not have even gotten in line for lunch or he would have been given that. If that’s the case, the student lied to the bus driver, who then posted that lie to the internet. I wonder if lying to the public about your employer’s doings would constitute substantial disruption…

        The driver should have first gone to the principal or whatever to verify the student’s claim before making his Facebook post.

        1. There is nothing in the article to indicate it was a lie. The student said he was refused the contingency option because he already owed the school. But I guess as a bureaucrat, you’re always going to take the bureaucrats word and demonize the man that only stamped his form 4 times instead of 5. Good to know you think a person should get permission before expressing an opinion to others.

          1. There is nothing in the article to indicate it was a lie.

            According to the student’s own statement, he got in line and got his tray and was told to go put it back down and sit down. The superintendent said that video coverage of the cafeteria doesn’t show the boy getting in line at all.

        2. angry calls from parents concerning an incident that didn’t involve their kid isn’t disruptive

          No, it isn’t. It’s part of the job to field complaints, even if the complaints are baseless.

          1. Well then let me go make a Facebook post about how that superintendent sacrificed a small child to the Dark Lord Satan. I’m sure it won’t interfere with their work at all.

    3. he’ll be more concerned about making sure he has lunch money in the future, like reminding a parent who may have forgotten that detail.

      No. It’s more likely he would acquire the funds by beating the snot out of a younger, weaker, and richer kid.

      Jus’ sayin’

      1. Yeah, that’s much more likely than him saying, “Hey Mom, you forgot to give me lunch money.”

        1. This brings up something I was talking to my wife about the other day. Everyone is so concerned/paranoid about their children getting bullied at school but nobody seems to think that their own kid could be the bully.

          1. “Welcome to Lake Denial, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

          2. Back in the day, I think the parents usually knew their kid was kind of a bully, but they wrote it off as boys being boys, or else it was because they were the shitty dysfunctional family. Nowadays, I’ve no idea.

            1. When I was a kid, the difference between being a bully and just a plain asshole was mostly socioeconomic. Bullies were poor kids from white trash parents who would tell a teacher to go fuck themselves when caught doing something and assholes where rich kids that acted exactly like the bullies, but could flash perfectly white teeth at the teachers and be obsequious with the teachers and therefore get away with anything.

              1. Yeah, pretty much. But the bullies were also the ones who were much more like to physically hurt you.

                1. But the bullies were also the ones who were much more like to physically hurt you.

                  When I was a kid, I got good with an axe handle. “You hit her, we hit you” or “You be nice, I’ll be nice.” Reminded me of the Craftsman Mower. The problem went away first time, most every time.

                  I got a reputation as a mean little shit, but my friends were safe.

        2. Indeed. In this day and age, if a kid is going to school without lunch money, it’s because the parents are extremely fucked up in some way (substance abuse, mental illness, I don’t give a shit you’re just a childsupport check syndrome, etc.). Asking his parents for 40 cents would probably result in a open hand slap to the face. Thus, the rational economic choice is to extort the money.

          1. Or his parents left the lunch money out on the counter and he forgot to grab it. :p

            That is usually what happened to me.

          2. (I’ve no idea if you are being serious)

            Or it’s just because both parents work and they spaced it out and the kid spaced it out.

            My kid would wear his PJs to school if I didn’t remind him to get dressed in the morning.

            1. We have families around here who just cannot afford what we think of as “normal expenses” from time to time. These people work their butts off and don’t use the rent money for tatoos.

    4. Yeah, I’m with you on this, Brian.

      Employees who post or contribute any comment or content on social networking sites that causes a substantial disruption to the instructional environment are subject to disciplinary procedures up and including termination.

      Also a kid who hasn’t had his metabolism screwed up ought to have access to fat stores, certainly enough to last him the two or three hours it takes till he gets home.

      1. causes a substantial disruption to the instructional environment

        I find it very hard to believe his post rose to this level. Or it least in a sane world without hyper sensitive school administrators.

        1. That’s debatable for sure but I think public schools ought to be able to fire whoever they want whenever they want. Not that this would ever happen or that it would impact the people who really ought to be fired but I think they ought to be within their rights to fire this guy.

          I also think the bus driver is within his rights to make a cause c?l?bre out of this, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were shamed into hiring him back or if someone else hired him because of the publicity.

    5. “. . .he got upset when a middle school student told him he didn’t get to eat because his lunch card was 40 cents short.”

      Are you sure it was the kid? “Cause the brickbat is written as if it was the *bus driver* who didn’t get to eat.

    6. “. . .he got upset when a middle school student told him he didn’t get to eat because his lunch card was 40 cents short.”

      Are you sure it was the kid? “Cause the brickbat is written as if it was the *bus driver* who didn’t get to eat.

  7. What the hell is wrong with that bus driver? If you want to help the kid – give him the 40 cents. Why put the good deed you never really did on Facebook?

    1. It sounds as though the driver only learned about the kid’s being 40 cents short after the fact.

  8. I presume they arrested the kid too, for revealing state secrets or something. I’m sure they can come up with something.

  9. Now that my kids are teenagers, we have one rule about lunches: make your own or starve.

    1. Nice.

  10. In high school we had an a la carte line as long as you were paying with cash instead of vouchers. I’d get a rectangle pizza or a sad hamburger and a carton of orange drank. Woot!

    But good fire, school system. Abusive coaches, rapist teachers, lazy, mean, and evil are all fine, but one hint of criticism and the generous bus driver has got to fucking go, right?

    1. The a la carte line of my high school cafeteria was where I learned to drink coffe. Black, with no sugar.

      1. We had Taco Bell at my high school cafeteria. Also, for upperclassmen, it was an open campus, so you could grab lunch (and porno mags) at any of the shady-ass convince stores/sub shops in the vicinity.

        As the step-son of a chef, I also brought a bag lunch.

        1. * also = always

        2. We were very close to having an open campus when a retard in Evansville plowed into a group of students milling around the front of their school. That they were hit by a car on campus during lunch proved it was too dangerous to let students leave campus during lunch. School officials are fucking idiots, assholes, and abject goddamn liars.

    2. a carton of orange drank

      I initially read that as “a cartoon of orange drink”.

      1. Well, whaddaya expect for that price?

      2. Its the hierarchy of juices

        (fruit) Juice
        (Fruit) Drink
        (color) Drank

  11. Whose Line: Greatest Hits Songs of The Bus Driver

    1. And that hit song: “Pffffffssssst!”

  12. “I can assure you it did not happen,” Haralson County Superintendent Brett Stanton said.

    Isn’t it pretty well established that any statement that opens with “I can assure you…” will be followed by bullshit ?

  13. Of course he was fired. The government doesn’t like whistle blowers.

    For those who don’t know, whistle blowers are people who embarrass someone in the government by publicizing the stunningly stupid stuff they do but don’t want the public to know about.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.