Contact: TJ Helmstetter, [email protected]
The following is a statement from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in response to the Republican Party’s false attacks on Tony Evers:
“In 2010, a teacher was fired for watching porn at school. An arbitrator reinstated him, and the courts refused to remove him under the law at the time. What did Tony Evers do? He got to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle to pass a law prohibiting teachers who view inappropriate material at school from keeping their licenses, making sure it wouldn’t happen again.
“When a concerned parent asked Scott Walker for help, he declined, and instead he sent her an email saying the issue wasn’t under his ‘jurisdiction’ and that he would ‘recommend contacting your school board members or attending a school board meeting to express your concerns.’ When Walker’s own staffer expressed concern because her child attended the same school, Walker passed the buck yet again. Now, he’s resurfacing attacks against Tony Evers that have already been debunked.
“The contrast is stark: Scott Walker passed the buck, and Tony Evers helped pass a law.” — TJ Helmstetter, DPW spokesperson for 2018 gubernatorial election
- Andrew Harris was fired by Middleton-Cross Plains School District for viewing pornography at work.
- At the time of Harris’s firing, the law stated teacher licenses could be revoked for “conduct or behavior that is contrary to commonly accepted moral or ethical standards and that endangers the health, safety, welfare, or education of any pupil.”
- An arbitrator ruled that Harris should be reinstated “because the penalty of discharge is excessive, arbitrary and an abuse of discretion, the penalty needs to be reduced to be comparable to other penalties for similar offenses.” Multiple courts upheld the arbitrator’s ruling.
- As a direct result of Harris’s reinstatement, Tony Evers got to work with legislators from both sides of the aisle to fix the law and make sure it would never happen again.
- The state Supreme Court declined to hear the case, forcing the district to reinstate Harris.
- Parent Kira Dott wrote to Scott Walker asking for intervention. He declined to intervene, and his spokesperson replied to her: “Unfortunately, while the Governor understands your concern, the issues that you raise fall under the jurisdiction of your locally elected school board and not the Office of the Governor. I would recommend contacting your school board members or attending a school board meeting to express your concerns. This issue is also complicated and further from the Governor’s jurisdiction as this was decided in the courts.”
- Walker’s own deputy communications director Julie Lund had a child attending the school, and raised the issue directly with Walker. Walker again passed the buck with a letter to Tony Evers.
- Evers said at the time: “We see a problem. We fix it. If it happened today, we would have pulled the license. […] I’m proud of the fact that we changed the law.”
- Politifact has already rated Republican attacks against Tony Evers related to the Andrew Harris case as “mostly false” and said the attacks contained “only an element of truth.”