By State Representative, Leon D. Young
Scott Walker and his band of minions are apparently feeling the political heat. According to the latest Marquette University Law School Poll, Democratic challenger Tony Evers has experienced a slight rise in his poll numbers that puts him 5 points ahead of his Republican opponent—incumbent Governor Scott Walker.
The Marquette University Law School survey showed Evers, the state superintendent, with 49 percent and Walker with 44 percent. Another 6 percent backed the Libertarian candidate Phil Anderson.
With this recent turn of events, the Republican Party of Wisconsin, an unabashed surrogate of Scott Walker, has responded in its usual fashion by doing what it does best—The brazen dissemination of false and misleading information. In a new TV and printed ad campaign, the Republican Party of Wisconsin has launched a scurrilous attack on State Superintendent Tony Evers. The attack ad in question alleges:
“A teacher watched hard-core pornography in his classroom, along with other inappropriate behavior, but Tony Evers didn’t revoke the teacher’s license and the teacher is still in the classroom.”
This patently bogus ad, like the other ads, focuses on Andy Harris, a middle-school science teacher in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, west of Madison. He was fired in 2010 for viewing images and videos of nudity on his school computer and showing them to coworkers. Harris got his job back after an arbitrator ruled he should have been given a suspension rather than be fired. Two courts, without ruling on whether the firing was illegal, concluded that the arbitrator was within her authority in making her decision.
Moreover, the arbitrator based her decision in part on her determination that Harris’ behavior, given that students were not present when he viewed the images, did not endanger any student, as defined by state law.
In truth, Evers’ department did have the discretion on whether to go through license revocation proceedings, which Harris could have challenged. However, the department decided against that course after concluding that Harris’ behavior didn’t endanger kids, as defined by state law.
So, this assertion that Evers could have revoked Harris’ license and simply didn’t is intentionally misleading, and borders on being an outright lie! Lastly, it should be noted that there was a lack of legal basis for revoking Harris’ license at that time. As evident by the fact that Walker and Evers backed a change in state law so that teachers can be fired for viewing pornography at school.