Media Trackers has learned that in three cases of teacher license revocation, the offenses had been brought to the attention of the State Department of Public Instruction years earlier. However, no action occurred until State Schools Superintendent Tony Evers was under scrutiny from the GOP in relation to the Andrew Harris case. Evers is currently the front runner for the Democratic nomination for governor.
Last week, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Evers and the DPI drastically revoked more licenses after GOP criticism of a previous case, and in the month following Ever’s announcement for his candidacy:
“But that all changed in 2016, when 25 educators lost their licenses. The figure bumped up to 32 last year, including the dozen educators in September, a month after Evers announced his gubernatorial bid and the GOP attacked him on this issue.”
In addition to the hike in numbers, documents from a public records request show that in three cases the DPI had been notified of the immoral conduct years earlier, but did not act until after the Harris case criticism and Evers’ candidacy announcement:
In July 2013, the Onalaska School District notified DPI that one of their teachers, Deborah Fullwood, was terminated and charged with 2 counts of criminal neglect of a child. DPI took no action until 9/7/17.
In November 2014, the Chilton School District notified DPI that one of their teachers, Richard Gilles, was having inappropriate sexual conduct with a 18yr old former student on school property during the school day. Gilles was forced to immediately resign but DPI took no action until 9/23/17.
In October 2014, the Milwaukee Public School district notified DPI that they terminated one of their teachers, Zene Peer, for physically abusing on of her students. Peer was charged with felony child abuse in 2014 and later plead down to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. DPI took no action until 9/29/17.
The Wisconsin GOP previously criticized Evers for failing to revoke the teaching licence of Middleton Teacher Andrew Harris who was fired in 2010 after he and other teachers looked at sexually explicit images at school. A digital ad was launched by the GOP regarding the issue last year. It was after that ad that the GOP claims Evers became more attentive to teacher misconduct.