Despite murder charge, school district says it has a “good system” to screen teachers

Nov 27, 2018, 2:43 PM | Updated: 3:02 pm
Chelsea Cook...
Chelsea Watrous Cook's mug shot. Cook, a teacher at Skyridge High School, was arrested on Sunday on murder charges. (Salt Lake County Jail)
(Salt Lake County Jail)

A Skyridge High School teacher named Chelsea Cook has been arrested for murder after allegedly shooting and killing her ex-husband’s girlfriend while her three-year-old children watched.

The case has provoked a great deal of concern among parents in the Alpine School District, especially as news broke that, a month earlier, on Oct. 16th, Cook was charged for assault and domestic violence. Despite the charge, Cook continued to teach Health classes to teenage students at Skyridge for more than a month.

KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic spoke with Kimberly Bird, Assistant to the Superintendent of the Alpine School District, to discuss how they make sure teachers with violent criminal charges aren’t left alone with children and how Chelsea Cook slipped through the cracks.

Chelsea Cook was an anomaly, Alpine School District says

“There really is a good system in place,” Bird assured Dave & Dujanovic.

As soon as a public employee’s fingerprint is taken by the police, she explained, it automatically triggers an alert, starting a process that notifies the school district of the arrest as quickly as possible.

“We’re typically notified within 24 hours,” Bird said.

In Chelsea Cook’s case, however, the system failed. For reasons the school has yet to fully understand, they were never warned that Cook had been charged with a violent crime, and so had no idea that one of their teachers had been arrested until the news broke in the paper.

If they had been warned, Bird explained, the school would have reacted. Because of the severity of the charge, Cook would have been placed on immediate administrative leave and Human Resources would have opened an investigation.

The Human Resources Director, she explained, has a little leeway in how to handle cases. Issues that could put the children in jeopardy, however, are always serious.

“Things like assault, drugs, and alcohol, those things are administrative leave with an investigation,” Bird said.

Bird was unable to explain why Cook’s charges hadn’t set off the system, even after more than a month had passed. She refused, however, to blame the police who’d charged her.

“We don’t know why,” she admitted. “This one is a rare situation.”

For the time being, the Alpine School District wants to assure students and parents that this was an anomaly and that Cook is no longer employed at the school.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on Google Play Music

Today’s Top Stories


nevada police...
Amie Schaeffer

Officer-involved shooting kills one, sends officer to hospital

A South Salt Lake Police officer is in the hospital after a shots were exchanged overnight. One person kiled.
6 hours ago
Salt Lake City Police responded to five different incidents involving weapons on Monday, Sept. 26, ...
Mark Jones

Salt Lake City Police respond to five different incidents with weapons

Salt Lake City Police responded to five different incidents Monday involving a weapon.
1 day ago
Aaron Lowe...
Waverly Golden

One year since the passing of Utah football player Aaron Lowe

A year ago, University of Utah defensive back Aaron Lowe was fatally shot in a Sugar House neighborhood following a house party.
1 day ago
Police SUV...
Amie Schaeffer

Woman dies in SLC shooting, suspect arrested

A shooting in Salt Lake City on Sunday killed a woman. Authorities are looking into the possibility this is a domestic-related homicide.
1 day ago
SLCPD is currently investigating a shooting that occurred Sunday night. One person is in the hospit...
Devin Oldroyd

One person in critical condition after Sunday night shooting

SLCPD is currently investigating a shooting that occurred Sunday night. One person is in the hospital in critical condition
2 days ago
Anderson was arrested the morning of Sept. 24, 2022, by West Valley Police on felony child sexual a...
Waverly Golden

First grade teacher in Magna arrested on felony child sexual abuse charges

Elk Run Elementary first grade teacher Dale Anderson was arrested this morning on felony child sexual abuse charges.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Despite murder charge, school district says it has a “good system” to screen teachers