Panel recommends fired coach be reinstated

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 24, 2013 at 10:38 am •  Published: December 24, 2013

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — A grievance panel concluded that the former Pocatello High School girls' basketball coach should get her job back after she was fired over a photograph posted on her Facebook page that showed another district employee touching her bikini-clad chest.

Laraine Cook was dismissed in October after the school district learned that the photograph showed her fiance, the school's football coach, touching her clothed chest while they were vacationing in eastern Oregon.

She is challenging the dismissal, and the three-member District 25 Grievance Panel was created as a part of that challenge.

The Idaho State Journal reports ( ) the panel released its decision Monday concluding the firing should be rescinded, that Cook should be reinstated as a substitute teacher and she should be hired as the basketball coach next year.

Additionally, the panel — comprised of former Democratic state legislators James Ruchti and Diane Bilyeu of Pocatello and Rupert attorney Robyn Brody — recommended that the period spanning Cook's dismissal and Monday's decision should be considered a suspension without pay.

And the three-person grievance panel also recommended that District 25 "adopt a social media policy to avoid confusion about standards of conduct and instruct employees about the standard to make sure it is understood."

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