Community Blog: The EDge

Fired Pocatello teacher/coach speaks out

A Pocatello teacher — dismissed, she says, over a photo she posted on her Facebook page — is speaking out and fighting back.

Laraine Cook tells the Idaho State Journal that the Pocatello School District is filing paperwork with the State Board of Education to have her teaching license revoked.

“I spent four-plus years earning that degree,” Cook told the Journal Thursday. “That’s something I take a lot of pride in. To have that taken away for one picture, that’s hard because I worked really hard for that. That’s several years of work, money and time. I’m pretty proud of that degree. To have that taken away because of this, I’m hurt by it. I’m a little frustrated aby it.”

District spokeswoman Shelley Allen declined comment.

“We are not saying another thing,” Allen told the Journal. “She can speak all she wants. We’re done.”

Cook, a teacher and girls basketball coach at Pocatello High School, was dismissed in October, after a photo surfaced that showed her fiancé, Tom Harrison, touching her clothed chest. Harrison, the school’s football coach, was reprimanded over the photo.

The Facebook flap has received national media attention, from the likes of the Huffington PostGood Morning America.com and the New York Daily News.

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org). Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

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