Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Panel: Idaho Coach Fired in Facebook Flap Should Be Rehired

Posted By on Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Laraine Cook (left) lost her job as a Pocatello High School coach in October after posting this photo, taken with fiance and fellow coach Tom Harrison (right) during a family reunion in Oregon, to Facebook.
  • Laraine Cook (left) lost her job as a Pocatello High School coach in October after posting this photo, taken with fiance and fellow coach Tom Harrison (right) during a family reunion in Oregon, to Facebook.

A special panel looking into the firing of an Eastern Idaho high-school girls' basketball coach says that school officials should reinstate the coach.

In October, BW first told you about Laraine Cook being fired from her job as a Pocatello High School basketball coach, while her fiance, the Pocatello High School football coach, got off with a slap on the wrist.

The flap stemmed from a social media photograph that showed the boyfriend touching the chest of Cook.

Cook hired a lawyer and formally appealed through the school district's bargaining grievance process.

"I can't say that I think it's fair ... because of that picture that I never thought was immoral, for me to lose my job and possibly my entire career that I worked for," said Cook.

And now the Idaho State Journal reports that a grievance panel released a decision Dec. 23, concluding that Cook's firing should be rescinded, she should be reinstated as a substitute teacher immediately and she should be rehired as the basketball coach in 2014.

The panel also recommended that the Pocatello School District adopt a social media policy "to avoid confusion about standards of conduct."

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