“Unprotected”

The Republican Party of Wisconsin has released a new ad continuing their line of attack on Democratic Governor Candidate Tony Evers. In the ad, the RPW highlights instances in Evers’ career as State Superintendent when the DPI has failed to take licences away from teacher’s accused of immoral conduct in the classroom, including one case previously reported on by Media Trackers.

The RPW had previously released an ad concerning the case of Middleton Teacher Andrew Harris, in which the DPI failed to revoke the license of a teacher who had watched pornography at school. Harris was fired in 2010 after he and other teachers looked at sexually explicit images at school. Evers claims that the law in place at the time didn’t allow for Harris’ teaching license to be revoked. Evers argued that the law was changed in 2011 as a result of the Harris case.  But the RPW is now pointing to incidents following the passage of that law where DPI declined to revoke licenses.

The new ad  highlights two more cases in which the DPI failed to act, including Beloit Turner School teacher, Dayleen Yoerger, who was forced to resign in 2015, “after she was caught sending inappropriate Snapchats to one of her high school students.” In another case the Bloomer School District notified the DPI of serious allegations of misconduct against teacher Ron Thompson, which included an instance where it was revealed “that another teacher had once found Thompson in a classroom with his pants down.” The RPW claimed that in both cases Evers failed to act. Media Trackers previously reported on the Thompson case.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Dan Bice reported today that the Yoerger case is complicated; she deleted her Snapchat account and the student refused to testify against her. But RPW made the case in a release today that Evers’ DPI has been inconsistent in in their response to questions about the Yoerger case:

Evers failed to revoke the license of a teacher after a student-victim and multiple corroborating witnesses gave statements to the school district and the police department detailing how that teacher sent sexually provocative Snapchats to the student.
It was so bad, Evers’ own DPI legal team thought there was grounds to revoke the teacher’s license — despite now claiming that they “need” the student to give further input:
An attorney for the Department of Public Instruction, which Evers oversees, said early on in the case that there was “substantial reason” to think the teacher engaged in “immoral conduct. 
 
 
In a letter to the student’s parents in October 2015, DPI attorney Laura Varriale said she believed there was a strong case for revoking Yoerger’s license. 
 
“To be frank, I am concerned about this woman being in the educational system and feel strongly about pursuing revocation,” Varriale said. 
 

Here’s what the student told police and the school district when they were investigating the matter: 

 
“She Snapchats me sexual things. She sends me close to nudes, but not fully showing anything,” the male student said in a written statement. “When she is sexting me, she says how she wants to have sex in her storage closet or meet somewhere. 
 
When pressed by the school district, after the student-victim gave the statement above to police & the district that was corroborated by multiple witnesses to the Snapchats, the teacher dodged the questions: 
 
But Yoerger proved incredibly elusive during an interview with school district officials in mid-January 2015, refusing to answer questions about her messages to the boy or saying she did not recall them. 
 
A week after the interview, she resigned. 
 
Now Evers and his campaign are on their heels again. His DPI staff is claiming that if only the student would testify again (despite giving statements to the school and police) they’d “absolutely” revoke the license — yet Evers’ campaign referred to the story as “lies.” Which is it?