Scott Walker's political ad against Tony Evers raises decade-old case

Published: Aug. 27, 2018 at 9:46 PM CDT
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The race for Wisconsin governor is heating up.

An ad by Scott Walker's campaign brings up a nearly decade-old case in which a Madison-area science teacher looked at pornography at school.

The governor says he wanted democratic nominee Tony Evers, the state's superintendent of schools, to revoke the teacher's license. But Evers says, at the time, the law said it had to be proved when students were put in danger.

Monday afternoon, Republican Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch spoke out against Evers.

"Tony Evers instead, took a hands-off approach, and said he couldn't do anything about it," said Kleefisch. "Well, ask any mom or dad or grandma or grandpa, with a middle school kid that they love and care about across the state of Wisconsin, what they would do.

She and incumbent Scott Walker both say Evers should have fought harder, taking the teacher's license away, saying he was unwilling to face a day in court.

Evers called the governor "a slash and burn politician" on this weekend's edition of 'Upfront with Mike Gousha."

"Whenever possible, I have revoked licenses from bad actors," said Evers. "In fact, we've revoked over 1,000 licenses in the time I've been state superintendent. And whenever I found that law has been inadequate, I've worked with the Legislature to make it adequate."

The Department of Public Instruction, who took over this investigation, says the way the law was written in the case of Middleton teacher Andrew Harris, the investigation went through a two-pronged test. One that evaluated immoral conduct, and the second, if the behavior impacted a child or student.

"In the case of Andrew Harris, this was investigated over and over and over again over the course of this entire nearly decade worth of time to try to figure out if there were students present, and the absolute consensus was that there were not," said Tom McCarthy, communication director for the Department of Instruction.

In 2011, the governor signed a change to the law and the DPI says if a teacher did what Harris did today, their license would be revoked at least five years.

Then it's up to department's discretion whether to reinstate it.