Hernando teacher who came to school drunk resigns

BROOKSVILLE — Erin Cougill, the West Hernando Middle School language arts teacher who was suspended without pay last year after showing up drunk at school, has resigned from the Hernando County School District.

Schools Superintendent Lori Romano initially recommended Cougill’s termination, as she drove to school drunk on Dec. 11, fell asleep at her desk and initiated an incoherent conversation with an assistant principal.

Romano later recommended that Cougill retain a job with the district if she could complete a substance abuse or addiction program by Aug. 1.

“Erin Cougill voluntarily resigned her position as an employee with the Hernando County School District as a result of not satisfying the terms of her stipulation agreement,” district spokesman Eric Williams said in an e-mail this week.

In June, School Board Attorney Dennis Alfonso said mitigating factors raised concern over whether or not Romano’s initial termination recommendation would prevail at a Division of Administrative Hearings (DOA) proceeding.

Alfonso said Cougill had made efforts since the incident that would likely be viewed favorably by DOA judges, although he could not disclose what her efforts were.

At the time, a split school board approved Romano’s second recommendation that would allow Cougill to retain a job with the school district.

Cougill taught sixth to eighth grades and was at West Hernando Middle for 11 years. She was with the district for 14 years, having previously taught at Central High School.

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