Students, teachers, parents, and members of the community packed into the lower level board room for Monday’s meeting of the West Bend School Board.
The board gave some well-deserved recognition to the High School Drumline, which took home first place in a recent holiday competition at UW-Milwaukee, and then the meeting got down to brass tacks.
The two top issues involved the paid administrative leave of high school teacher Tanya Lohr.
There was a parade of people that got up to speak their piece. Jesse Clingan, a West Bend West High School graduate, spoke about Lohr and how he felt teachers deserved respect. “I strongly hope that the district weighs the value of the years of employment and excellence in teaching when determining her future here,” he said.
Parent Kim Roemer presented the school board with almost 1,200 signatures to encourage the board to bring Lohr back to the classroom. “Tanya is very outspoken for the teachers and the administration doesn’t like it,” said Roemer. “As you can see with the signatures collected we’re tired of the bulling by this administration.” In a statement before the board Roemer asked that administration, “Please start fighting for the teachers and our families in this community.”
Prior to the start of Monday’s meeting the board gathered in executive session to “take any such action, if necessary, based on its discussion namely: staff personnel matters.” This was likely the closed-door discussion on the paid administrative leave of teacher Tanya Lohr.
The 6:30 p.m. board meeting got underway about 10 minutes late. After a few business items School Board President Randy Marquardt read a prepared statement regarding Lohr, the paid administrative leave and their investigation.
“As you’re aware of the ongoing investigation into possible policy violations of a member of the high school. While no decision has been made regarding this matter it is clear from the information that has been supplied to this board there is significant and outright false information being published about this matter. By law the district unfortunately cannot address and correct the specific misleading or false information because as the employer the district does not have the same rights as public employees to go public and share with others their version of the facts of the personnel matter.
This inability to publicly address the situation and correct the inaccurate information that’s being communicated by these individuals puts the district at a significant disadvantage.
This district can not utilize social media in the same manner and to the same extent as the supporters of the employee who apparently don’t care what the facts really are as long as they can blame the administration for the situation and absolve the employee of any responsibility for the choices she made regarding her own behavior.
The district holds all staff members to standards of behavior that this community has the right to expect of any employee of the district regardless of the subject matter of an interaction between a staff member and an administrator.
When the administration receives information that those standards may not have been upheld the board expects the administration will conduct a thorough investigation of the matter that is exactly what is happening here.
The board fully supports the administrative actions in investigating this situation.
Finally we also agree with the administration recommendation to place Miss Lohr back in her classroom immediately.”
Lohr will be back in the classroom at the West Bend High Schools today.
Calls regarding the followup on the Galileo testing system were not returned by deadline.