School District 25 to Reinstate Coach Laraine Cook

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Updated: 1/21 10:48 pm
The Pocatello/Chubbuck School District Board of Trustees announced Tuesday it's decision to accept the recommendations given by the Grievance Committee which heard the case of Laraine Cook who was fired over a questionable photo posted to Facebook.

As KPVI reported in December, the Grievance Committee issued these recommendations to School District 25 regarding how to handle the case:  

•Rescind Cook's termination letter and treat Cook's time away from the district as a suspension without pay.
•Reinstate Cook as a substitute teacher to be eligible for work at any school in the district.
•Hire Cook as head coach for 2014-2015 season.
•Adopt social media policy to outline district standards for employees.

The board added two amendments to the mandates given by the Grievance Committee saying Coach Cook would be offered her job back but it would not automatically be given to her.  The board also viewed the inclusion of a social media policy as a recommendation and not a mandate.  They are working on a policy that would address this issue moving forward.

While the board of trustees accepted the recommendations, they also voiced their continued support for Superintendent Mary Vagner saying she acted accordingly. 

Gary Cooper, Laraine Cook's attorney, told us tonight that he is pleased the school district has adopted the panel's recommendation, but also added, "I'm annoyed that they are going to tinker with the language, because now I have to worry about, well what's the motive? Why?"

Background: The Pocatello/Chubbuck School District fired Pocatello High School Girls' Basketball Coach Laraine Cook in October over a questionable photo the coach posted to Facebook. The picture shows Pocatello High School football coach Tom Harrison with his hand on Cook's chest. The picture was posted in the summer of 2013 but promptly removed at the request of high school administrators. The district became aware of the photo in October and fired Cook.
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