'Cone of Shame' teacher Laurie Bailey-Cutkomp rehired at new school

7:01 AM, Aug 8, 2012   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Teacher puts ''cone of shame'' on students

ZEPHYRHILLS, Florida - They are images evoking controversy -- students seen in pictures with plastic, cylinder dog collars around their necks, similar to the equipment used on a dog post-surgery.

So, the question remains: When you see these images does it look like a harmless joke or an act of humiliation?

PHOTOS: Teacher puts ''cone of shame'' on students

In this case, it's being referred to as the "Cone of Shame," mimicking the Disney/Pixar movie Up. A Zephyrhills high school teacher was fired for using it as a form of punishment, according to the Pasco school district.

10 News spoke with that teacher, Laurie Bailey-Cutkomp, at her Zephyrhills home on Tuesday. The longtime science teacher now has a new teaching position at Pasco Middle School in Dade City.

She told us, "I will continue to teach. I love my students. I'm sorry this has happened, but what can you do? People will form their own opinions. I just want to be a good teacher. My students and my own children are everything to me."

"I was disgusted, very disgusted," said mother Dawn Davis. "Like I said, that's a human, not an animal."

While some parents were furious with her behavior, Bailey-Cutkomp had this to say about being fired and a settlement reached by the district:

"The district has many inconsistencies in their story. What happened was taken way out of context and exaggerated. I don't want to go into detail, but they did not get their whole story straight. In the end, what happened was not a settlement. I would call it, rather, an agreement. I have a new job, and I was told that I'm not welcomed at Zephyrhills High School."

Bailey-Cutkomp's new principal at Pasco Middle, Kim Anderson, was not there when we went by her Land O' Lakes home, but talked about her hire with the Tampa Bay Times saying, "I'm  very excited she's going to have this new opportunity."

Bailey-Cutkomp admitted, "I'm a private person, but I will say I'm thankful to have a job. I miss my students, and I wish them luck. I see them around town and I hug them.  My students are everything."

The school district released a statement saying, "The district did reach a settlement with the employee in question, and as a result, she will be teaching science at Pasco Middle School next year. Since the agreement has not yet been signed and returned to the district, I am not at liberty to discuss the details of the agreement with the third party. I can tell you that Ms. Bailey-Cutkomp is a certified science teacher, and our district has a shortage of certified teachers in this area. We look forward to a productive school year for this employee and the students at Pasco Middle School."

Bailey-Cutkomp did say she is concerned, since she heard there was talk of her teaching certification possibly being pulled. She is hoping that will not happen, and is simply looking forward to returning to the classroom on Monday.

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