Laraine Cook, the girls’ basketball coach at Pocatello High School in Idaho, was fired last month because of a photo she posted on her Facebook account that featured her boyfriend grabbing her breast. The boyfriend, who is the school’s football coach, was not fired and only reprimanded.
Cook was fired on Oct. 22 over the supposed immoral photo, which was posted to her Facebook account in July for less than a day before being removed. She was told that only she, not her boyfriend, Tom Harrison, was fired because she was the one who posted the photo. The photo was posted in July, but the district supposedly did not receive it until Oct. 21, leading to Cook’s firing the next day.
No specific reason has been given for the firing, but district superintendent Mary Vagner pointed to the Code of Ethics of the Idaho Teaching Profession, which states that teachers “shall not engage in conduct which is offensive to the ordinary dignity, decency, and morality of others.”
In an interview with ABC 8, Cook spoke about the firing for the first time. She says she is appealing the decision.
“In my personal opinion, I don’t feel that photo is something to have me terminated on. I don’t feel that it’s an immoral photo, and that’s what the termination is based on.”
Cook hopes that other teaching or coaching opportunities will come up if she is unable to get her job back.
Cook led her team to a third-place finish in the state tournament last season. The parents of her players were upset with the firing and met with the district to argue for her to get her job back. Keep in mind that Harrison has won 10 state championships during his football coaching career.
There is suspicion that an opposing program is responsible for the photo being sent to the district.
The whole thing is pretty darned ridiculous. Who would have known about the photo if it hadn’t been sent in to the district? Did they even consider that it was only posted for a day? Do they really feel that that photo makes her a poor leader of the team? I think this is a slight overreaction, to say the least, not to mention a totally inconsistent penalty.
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