The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction will not revoke the license of a Middleton teacher accused of receiving and sharing explicit emails while on the job.
Andrew Harris was a seventh-grade teacher at Glacier Creek Middle School until he was terminated in 2010 after being accused of receiving and sharing explicit emails while on the job. Arbitrators ruled the school district wrongly fired Harris and he should be reinstated. He returned to the classroom in January.
Gov. Scott Walker disagrees with DPI's decision not to revoke Harris' license.
Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said the governor believes DPI does have the legal authority to revoke his license and it should do that.
Walker asked Wisconsin state Superintendent Tony Evers to start proceedings to revoke Harris’ license saying Harris’ behavior meets the definition of immoral conduct cited in state statutes. A DPI investigation of Harris started in May 2010.
A letter from DPI’s director of education information services released Wednesday states Harris’ accused misconduct occurred before a change in state law in 2011 that redefined immoral conduct.
“While Andrew Harris’s conduct was highly inappropriate for an educator, it does not meet the legal definition of immoral conduct contained in the 2008-09 law,” the letter states. “Specifically, the Department’s investigation confirmed the school district’s public statements that Andrew Harris’s conduct did not involve children in any manner.”
The letter states that the Middleton-Cross Plains School District has spent about $1 million on costs and legal fees in the case.
A group of parents picketed outside Kromrey Middle School against the decision to allow Harris back into the school.