Florida Teacher Forced Students To Wear “Cone Of Shame”

High school teacher Laurie Bailey-Cutkomp, from Zephyrhills, Florida, is under fire this week for making her students wear a “cone of shame.” That’s right: this is the same plastic cone that is traditionally placed around an animal’s neck to prevent it from licking its wounds.

At least eight of her 9th grade students wore the cone of shame during April, according to the Tampa Bay Times. She told district officials that she thought it would be a good way to “redirect student behavior.”

Pasco County schools superintendent Heather Fiorentino has recommended firing the physical science teacher.

The Tampa Bay Times reports:

“I am stunned that you would put dog collars on students for any reason,” Fiorentino said in a letter to Bailey-Cutkomp, a district teacher since 1999. “I am very concerned that you used this collar to punish and embarrass students in front of their peers.”

Reached by phone Wednesday, Bailey-Cutkomp said she could not comment. She referred calls to her lawyer, Mark Herdman, who was in depositions and not available.

Bailey-Cutkomp, who is accused of violating district and state ethics rules, has requested a hearing before the School Board to appeal the superintendent’s decision. A date has not been set. She is no longer in the classroom while awaiting the hearing.

Of course this teacher should be fired. Did she even consider what kind of severe emotional distress she might be causing these children by her outrageous behavior? And if so, did she care?

Even worse, Zephyrhills High administrators said they first learned of the teacher’s actions after parents pointed out photos on Facebook of the students with the cones. So now literally millions of people could have access to those photos, adding to the students’ embarrassment.

As I trained to become a teacher, I never ran across the idea that it was perfectly fine to equate my students with dogs. Discipline, or behavior management, is both essential to ensure that a classroom runs smoothly, and also can be extremely complicated. But putting a student in a cone of shame accomplishes none of the goals of a good classroom management plan.

As a high school teacher, I am angry that teachers like Laurie Bailey-Cutkomp are allowed to have control over students in a classroom. This is a dangerous teacher who should never be permitted to enter a classroom again.

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147 comments

Past Member
Past Member 4 months ago

I know this is a very old story, but there's more to it than what's been reported in this article. The teacher did NOT force her students to wear the cone. They were watching the movie, Up, in the classroom, and that's where she got the idea from. When the students broke one of her rules, like chewing gum in class, she would jokingly put the cone on the student. She would ask them if it was okay, and they gave their consent. She'd ask if they were comfortable, and she would NOT connect it, so the students were able to remove the cone easily at any time. It was all in fun, and the students in the classroom enjoyed it. They love this particular teacher and say she's really cool. They even started a petition to keep her at the school after she came under fire for this.

Sarah B.
Sarah B.4 years ago

Oh wow! I just moved from zephyrhills a couple months ago! Yeah this teacher should totally be fired for abusing her power. I know high school kids can be bad but putting them in a freaking dog cone really isn't going to solve anything.

Shannon B.
S B.4 years ago

WOW! What a clever idea! When I saw the headline I just assumed it was supporting the teacher, who WOULDN"T support her? I applaud the clever Laurie Bailey-Cutkomp and fully support her cone-heads!

Patty Boytos
Patty B.4 years ago

She should be fired . Children are so fragile in their sense of self worth .A cruel act put upon a child by a teacher who seems to have sadistic tendencies will harm that child for a lifetime. Sense of self worth is stripped OR can make a child rebellious against people who force actions on them .
A teacher that I unfortunately had tied me up in a chair in front of the room for fidgeting when I was about 7 .That shame stayed with me for decades . I was probably bored with no outlet so I was restless .If I had told my parents I would have been beat . Between a rock and a hard place .I did not do well academically after that UNTIL there was a contest where the top student would receive a prize..one that I wanted . I became that top student .That was because the prize was something more than the shame I had felt .

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton4 years ago

Maybe as a punishment, they should make her wear the collar!

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton4 years ago

I'm all for keeping kids under control and teaching them the right way to behave, but not through ritual humiliation. This poor excuse of a teacher is twisted bully and should be fired.

June L.
June Lacy4 years ago

I AM FROMTHE PADDLE DAYS....INFACT THEY HAD ONE WITH MY NAME ON IT. ITALKED TOO MUCH. I WAS TALKING TO THE TEACHER.

ryan b.
Ryan B.4 years ago

If people in this country were allowed to punish kids who did wrong then this country would be in much better shape. We are a country full of woosies that can't stand up for ourselves anymore because of "severe emotional distress." Did anyone stop to ask what this brat did to deserve the collar? Did anyone stop to think that when they were this brat's age and they were embarrassed by someone else or something they did that they didn't do that stupid act again? Of course no one thought of that. We are too worried about crucifying the teacher who I am sure had good reason to make an example out of this kid. People like all of you that stand against this teacher are the reason teachers have to do stuff like this. You are too worried about your brats "emotions" than whether they are behaving and allowing others around them to learn at school or wherever they are.

ryan b.
Ryan B.4 years ago

If people in this country were allowed to punish kids who did wrong then this country would be in much better shape. We are a country full of woosies that can't stand up for ourselves anymore because of "severe emotional distress." Did anyone stop to ask what this brat did to deserve the collar? Did anyone stop to think that when they were this brat's age and they were embarrassed by someone else or something they did that they didn't do that stupid act again? Of course no one thought of that. We are too worried about crucifying the teacher who I am sure had good reason to make an example out of this kid. People like all of you that stand against this teacher are the reason teachers have to do stuff like this. You are too worried about your brats "emotions" than whether they are behaving and allowing others around them to learn at school or wherever they are.

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad4 years ago

Ridiculous to shame a child amongst his peers. If his behavior was that that was so disruptive to the class room environment.....What happened to the olden day's, of having the child sent to the principles office?