Laraine Cook, High School Basketball Coach, Fired Over "Immoral" Facebook Photo

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Laraine Cook, a Idaho high school girls' basketball, was fired from her job over a Facebook photo in which her fiance, Tom Harrison, holds her breast.

The photo was deemed "immoral" by school administrators.

Laraine Cook Facebook Photo

"I don't feel that it's an immoral photo, and that's what the termination is based on," Cook told Local 8 News in an interview regarding the controversy.

The photo shows Cook and Harrison in bathing suits at a lake.

Harrison, who is a football coach at Pocatello High School, the same institution, was "reprimanded" for his involvement in the photo, but not fired.

Cook said the reason her fiance wasn't fired is because she was the one who put the photo to Facebook. In any case, she plans to fight the decision.

"I would love to be able to coach those girls again," Cook lamented of the job she lost. "I love teaching. I love coaching. I love working with the kids."

The district stands by its decision to fire Cook and not Harrison.

Laraine Cook is in the middle of a multi-step grievance process.

With the aim of getting her job back, she intends to state her case, which she feels is strong. If some parents had it their way, she'd have never been fired.

Dave Reichelt, whose daughter plays basketball at Pocatello, said, "My daughter has been empowered by [Cook], and not just in basketball, but in life as well."

"We believe she's an awesome coach and a great influence on our daughters. Did she make some bad choices? Yeah... But I think she received it in a lot of humility."

VOTE: Should Cook have been fired over this pic?


In the UK it would not have been lawful to fire or reprimand anyone over this as it was posted on Facebook while she was on holiday from work. And - if she operates anything LIKE a professional stance with her social networking, it could not set ANY kind of example to the children as they would not be connected to her on facebook. I want to know - how did her employer discover the picture? Personally I don't share my facebook with ANY of my clients, colleagues or superiors.

@ Tom

The photo was posted to her Facebook profile in July and removed within 1-2 days when she was advised that it could be used against her (as it is now). In October, someone with an axe to grind against this woman (possibly a rival coach?) printed the photo in hardcopy, having saved it locally back in July, and anonymously mailed it to the Superintendent who then fired her despite the fact that said photo hadn't existed digitally online anywhere in the public sphere for more than three months. Meanwhile, the male in the photo doing the touching, who is the school's super successful (on the field?) American football coach, was given a "reprimand" but not fired. Key points are that the photo does not display any lewd conduct; the photo was deleted 1-2 days after posing and did not exist on Facebook for at least 3 mos before she was fired; and the male in the photo, who is also an athletic coach, was given a radically more lenient (and much more favorable) "punishment".


I think some pictures should just remain private...why the need to make this public? I don't think she should lose her jod over it, though...

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