Herricks teacher fired for giving COVID-19 vax to minor

Herricks teacher fired for giving COVID-19 vax to minor
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 Herricks teacher who was charged with illegally giving a COVID-19 vaccine to a 17-year-old friend of her son has been fired. 

The termination came after a state-appointed hearing officer found in favor of the district to remove Russo in a statement that does not mention her by name. It was read by Herricks Board of Education President Jim Gounaris during the Oct. 20 meeting. 

“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,” the statement said.

“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.”

Russo told Newsday that actions taken against her were unjustified.

“What I did was an egregious lapse of judgment that I deeply regret, but I did it to help a young man not to harm him,” Russo said.

Nassau County detectives said in January after her arrest that they were alerted by the teenager’s mother after he returned home from Russo’s Sea Cliff residence. The youth had allegedly gone to her home and was administered an injection by Russo, to which the mother had not consented.

Russo was charged with the unauthorized practice of a profession, a class E felony.

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.

After an investigation, it was determined that Russo was neither a medical professional nor authorized to administer vaccines.

Russo was removed from the classroom following the incident. 

According to the district’s website, Russo taught biology at Herricks High School in New Hyde Park. Her page was removed from the high school’s teacher directory following the arrest.

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