A panel has reconsidered the firing of Idaho teacher Laraine Cook after a picture she posted on Facebook raised eyebrows— and cost her her job.
The photo shows Cook, bikini-clad with her fiancé Tom Harrison, who also works at Pocatello High School, standing in front of a lake. Her fiancé has his hand in a place that would never be allowed in school.
Cook is the high school basketball coach, while her husband-to-be coaches football.
Cook was fired in October after school officials discovered the Facebook post. Not everyone agreed with the decision—some parents expressed concern about their daughters' basketball season, which was fast approaching.
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The high school did not give Cook her job back, but agreed to a review of the decision with the participation of the school principal and athletic director.
"I would love to be able to coach those girls again," Cook told Local 8 News at the time. "I love teaching. I love coaching. I love working with the kids."
"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," Cook told the Idaho State Journal. She hired a lawyer to appeal the decision through the school district’s bargaining grievance process.
A grievance panel decided on Dec. 23 that Cook was wrongly fired and should be reinstated as a substitute immediately, then rehired for her old position in 2014.
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The panel also recommended that the Pocatello School District adopt a social media policy "to avoid confusion about standards of conduct."
Parents will be happy to see Cook back on the court, seeing her positive influence as far outweighing her poor judgment.
"We believe she's an awesome coach. We think she's a great influence on our daughters. Did she make some bad choices? Yeah... But I think she received it in a lot of humility," Pocatello High School parent Dave Reichelt told KPVI in October. "My daughter has been empowered by coach Cook, and not just in basketball, but in life as well."
While Harrison was also reprimanded for his half of the tasteless snapshot, he got to keep his job.