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Education

"Cone of Shame" Dog Collar Used to Discipline Florida Students

cone of shame.jpg
Pasco County School Board

A Florida teacher is facing dismissal for punishing her students by making them wear a plastic cone around their neck and head.

You know the collar -- it's what veterinarians put on dogs to keep them from licking themselves.

It's also the collar featured in the Pixar animated film "Up." The character Dug is forced to wear "the cone of shame" for being disobedient.

Physical science teacher Laurie Bailey-Cutkomp, 47, used to work in the veterinary field. And she had just shown her students "Up" as a time-filler.

Put those two things together, and you have a Zephyrhills High teacher who thought it was a good idea to force her students to wear the cone.

At least eight of her ninth-graders wore it, mostly for being tardy or disruptive in class, according to the Tampa Bay Times:

In a written statement, one student who was drinking soda in class, explained how Bailey-Cutkomp used it. "I was in second period. I was drinking soda, and she said, 'Do I have to put the cone on you?' " wrote the student, whose name was not disclosed. "I didn't say anything and she put it on me." The teacher stopped using the collar after learning that one student's mother had commented on Facebook that it was inappropriate to make students wear it. Bailey-Cutkomp later told district investigators later that it "probably" was a bad idea to put the collar on students.

Word got out on Facebook -- as did photos of students wearing the collar.

The Pasco County School Board is deliberating. The superintendent wants the teacher fired, but some of her colleagues are defending her as a teacher -- even as they admit this wasn't a great discipline idea.