Fired Pocatello teacher 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 Post, Good Morning and the New York Daily News.

  • Rick Fletcher

    That’s a bad decision. Be ready for another lawsuit against Idaho that the state will lose and cost taxpayers money. It’s past time for individuals and small groups making decisions that are driven by their own moral guidelines. What’s as bad in this case is that the football coach, who is doing the action, is treated so differently. It makes this state look backwards. Education should be forward.

  • Meghan Kelley

    I’m one of the least litigious people out there, but I really hope Ms. Cook has a lawyer and it prepared to sue the pants off of this school district. She will win. This is the most asinine thing I have ever heard. When I first heard the story, I figured there simply had to be more to it… but the more I have read, the more ridiculous it becomes. Firing her over this personal and extremely minor “offense”, especially after parents said not to, was the absolute wrong thing to do. Trying to get her teaching license revoked is borderline harassment. You add in the EXTREME sexism here and I don’t even know what else to say.The people of Pocatello need to come together and demand answers and an explanation. Are any of these school district administrators in elected positions? Residents should have a say here. What ever happened to common sense??

    Laraine, I know you must be going through a lot right now, but just know that there are hundreds of thousands of people out there rooting for you. It’s just so awful to hear that they’re trying to add insult to injury, but it just makes them look like even bigger idiots.

    To everyone else, speak up!! Contact the school district administration and DEMAND to be heard. We will not put up with this nonsense.