Ex-Herricks teacher pleads guilty to giving COVID-19 vax to son’s friend

Ex-Herricks teacher pleads guilty to giving COVID-19 vax to son’s friend
Nassau County Police charged Herricks High School teacher Laura Parker Russo with giving a 17-year-old male a COVID-19 vaccination shot at he Sea Cliff home. (Photo courtesy of Herricks Public Schools)

Laura Parker Russo, the former Herricks High School teacher charged with injecting a minor with a COVID-19 vaccine, pleaded guilty Friday and will avoid jail time.

Russo, of Sea Cliff, Russo was arrested on New Year’s Eve last year for allegedly injecting her son’s 17-year-old friend with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Nassau County detectives said they were alerted by the teenager’s mother after he returned home from Russo’s Sea Cliff residence. The youth had gone to her home and was administered an injection by Russo, to which his mother had not consented, officials said.

The 55-year-old pleaded guilty to attempted unauthorized practice of medicine, a misdemeanor, and a disorderly conduct violation, according to the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.

Nassau County Judge Howard Sturim placed Russo on interim probation for one year. She must complete 100 hours of community service, attend therapy sessions twice a week and have no contact with the teen, according to the DA.

“Based on the defendant’s longstanding ties to the community and her lack of a criminal record, the NCDA has agreed to this disposition,” said spokesman Brendan Brosh in a statement. “As part of the plea, the defendant is expected to perform 100 hours of community service and serve one year of probation. If those terms are met, the misdemeanor plea will be vacated.”

Russo was fired from Herricks months ago after a state-appointed hearing officer found in favor of the district to remove Russo. 

“During the 2021 – 2022 school year, the Herricks School District received information about an employee engaging in behavior outside of school that put the safety of a minor at risk. The board, in partnership with the district leadership team, took swift action to investigate the allegations,” Herricks Board of Education President Jim Gounaris said during an October meeting.

“Once confirmed, the staff member was removed from the classroom to ensure the safety of our students and the district thereupon took the necessary steps to initiate the Education Law Section 3020 — a process seeking termination of employment. The district was notified earlier this week that the hearing officer found in favor of the district and directed that the employee be terminated…the board will implement the decision of the hearing officer pursuant to a formal board resolution wherein such employee is terminated.”

In a video obtained by NBC 4 New York, Russo is seen injecting a male with a COVID-19 vaccine. The male’s identity was covered in the video.

Russo was removed from the classroom following the incident. 

Gerard McCloskey, Russo’s defense attorney, told Newsday the last year has “been difficult on her family” and “this plea allows her to move on.”

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here