A Georgia school bus driver has filed a lawsuit after he says he was fired for helping a hungry middle school student.

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Johnny Cook was fired last spring after posting a message on Facebook expressing concern for a student who claimed he was denied school lunch for being 40 cents short.

“This child is already on reduced lunch and we can’t let him eat. Are you kidding me? […] The next time we can’t feed a kid for forty cents, please call me. We will scrape up the money,” Cook posted on his personal social media account.

The Haralson County School District has since fired back in a statement that reads in part: “This lawsuit is not about whether a child got fed, but whether the school district has the right to prevent its employees from abusing their positions by spreading false information linked to our schools through the Internet. Clearly, free speech is a protected right, but knowingly spreading false information and defaming our school district is another.”

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Today on The Real Story, Gretchen Carlson spoke to Cook and his attorney, Mike Kendall.

Cook retold the conversation he had with the student about the lunch situation, and said a similar occurrence happened with his own child.

“I made the Facebook post out of concern, but also out of a heavy heart,” he said.

Days later, Cook had a meeting with the superintendent and was subsequently fired from his job.

The school claims Cook violated its social media policy. Kendall pointed out that a governmental entity, not a private business, is attempting to regulate an employee’s speech.

The school also alleges to have surveillance video showing that the student did not enter the lunch line that day. Kendall said it only matters that Cook had a reasonable belief that what the student told him was true.

Cook told Gretchen that he hopes his lawsuit will change the policy and allow employees to be able to speak their minds. 

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