Arundel teacher in abuse case loses plea for reinstatement Laurie Cook was cleared in criminal case but fired by county school board

June 25, 1998|By Kris Antonelli and Mary Maushard | Kris Antonelli and Mary Maushard,SUN STAFF

Laurie S. Cook, the former Northeast High School teacher accused of having sex with a student, will not return to the classroom, as the Maryland State Board of Education upheld her firing.

In a decision announced yesterday, the board agreed with an Anne Arundel County school board decision that she should be fired.

County schools spokeswoman Jane W. Doyle declined to comment on the state board's decision.

Not guilty in criminal case

Cook, found not guilty in a criminal trial, has denied having an improper relationship with a student. Her attorney, M. Cristina Gutierrez, could not be reached for comment.

Although the state board did not rule on charges that Cook had sexual relations with a student, it decided that Cook's associations with students and their families went beyond the professional, and that other actions Cook confirmed were more than enough to justify dismissal, said the board's lawyer, Valerie V. Cloutier.

Cook, who taught science at the Pasadena school, was accused of having sexual encounters with a student.

Although she was acquitted of child sexual abuse in a criminal case, she was dismissed by a 5-2 vote of the county school board in March 1995.

Cook has been fighting to be reinstated. She could appeal the state board's ruling in Anne Arundel Circuit Court, but it was not clear yesterday whether she would.

Improper voting alleged

In her appeal to the state board, Gutierrez questioned the propriety of the 1995 school board vote, saying that one of the five board members voting for dismissal had not been present for oral arguments before the board and therefore should not have been allowed to vote.

Pub Date: 6/25/98

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