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School district to appeal teacher's reinstatement a 2nd time | News

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School district to appeal teacher's reinstatement a 2nd time
News, Schools

The school district said it will appeal a court decision to reinstate a Cross Plains teacher accused of viewing porn at work over several years.

The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District Board of Education voted 8-0 in closed session at its regular meeting on Monday night to appeal the District IV Court of Appeals' ruling related to Andy Harris' termination to the State Supreme Court.

Harris was a science teacher at Glacier Creek Middle School in Cross Plains placed on administrative leave in December 2009 after the district said he received, viewed and showed fellow teachers more than 20 emails containing nude photos and videos of sex acts and other adult content. Harris was placed on unpaid leave a month later and was formally dismissed by the Board of Education on May 3, 2010.

On Aug. 29, the three-person District IV Court of Appeals issued a ruling upholding the ruling by Dane County Circuit Court Judge C. William Foust that the MCPASD must abide by an arbitrator's decision to reduce Harris' termination to a 15-day suspension, pay him back wages and return him to the classroom.

The Middleton Education Association filed a grievance challenging the discipline imposed by the district on Harris' behalf, along with five other teachers who were suspended for their actions.

Arbitrator Karen Mawhinney largely ruled in favor of the MEA in its grievance in February 2012. Foust upheld the decision in August 2012.

School officials said seven citizens spoke before the board on Monday night strongly urging the board to appeal the appellate court decision to keep children safe and schools free of pornography.

In August, shortly after the appellate court's decision, Superintendent Don Johnson said he was disappointed in the Court of Appeals ruling.

He said in a statement that the Mawhinney's decision "did not reflect common sense public policy ... that pornography does not belong in our classrooms."

Read more: Middleton-Cross Plains School Board to appeal teacher's reinstatement

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