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Flasher costume nearly cost schools director pay cut, demotion

Broward County school board officials land on 7-day suspension, sensitivity training

Mary Cooker faces administrative recourse for an offensive Halloween costume that appears to show a nude body under a trench coat.
Mary Cooker faces administrative recourse for an offensive Halloween costume that appears to show a nude body under a trench coat.

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – An administrator for Broward County schools escaped a demotion and a nearly $44,000 pay cut because she showed up for work on Halloween dressed as a flasher.

After hours of deliberation, including hearings from Mary Coker, faculty and the public, the board voted to hand Coker a seven-day suspension and sensitivity training.

A complaint filed with the school district said Coker, 46, showed up at a school for adult students and at an administrative office party wearing a costume of “only a black coat and hat, with a tight fabric underneath which replicated a naked female body.”

During the party, “Coker inappropriately ‘flashed’ children, staff and colleagues,” according to the complaint. Employees were offended and some said they couldn’t tell if the costume was fake or she was really naked under the coat.

Coker earns $154,286 as the district’s director of procurement and warehousing services. Superintendent Robert Runcie asked the school board to demote Coker to manager of materials and logistics, a position where the most she could get paid is $110,701.

After flashing party goers, Coker said, “Hey everybody, relax, please erase the pictures,” according to the complaint.

Runcie alleges a wide range of offenses, including indecent exposure, lewd and lascivious behavior, incompetence, willful neglect of duty and failure to comply with school board policy.

School board member Nora Rupert has questioned whether the recommendation is too severe, since Coker had no prior discipline and received “highly effective” evaluations.

Coker will be able to return to work following the suspension.


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