Middleton-Cross Plains teachers served suspensions for inappropriate emails

2010-04-16T16:45:00Z 2012-03-06T07:24:42Z Middleton-Cross Plains teachers served suspensions for inappropriate emailsGENA KITTNER | gkittner@madison.com | 608-252-6139 madison.com

MIDDLETON - Five staff members of the Middleton-Cross Plains School District have served up to 12 days of unpaid suspensions following an investigation that showed they viewed adult content on the district's e-mail system.

The district made public the specific violations and disciplinary actions in a report Friday.

The Middleton Education Association, the union representing district teachers, is challenging the suspensions through a grievance that has been denied by the district. Going forward the union can seek arbitration.

Willie Haus, the lawyer representing the union, said the district is without just cause.

"We think that the district's policy ... isn't clear," he said. "The district has imposed a bunch of penalties that they don't have any rhyme or reason to them."

Two of the teachers involved had been suspended without pay previously for discipline issues, the report said. In addition, the district dismissed a substitute teacher, accepted the resignation a veteran administrator and to two other middle school employees were investigated but not disciplined.

Last week the district made public the recommendation that Andrew Harris, a seventh-grade science teacher at Glacier Creek Middle School, be fired after an investigation found that he received 23 e-mails at school containing pornography and other adult content. The union also is challenging the recommendation to fire Harris. He remains on unpaid leave until the entire process is complete, district spokeswoman Michelle Larson said Friday.

According to the district, high school teachers who have been disciplined and served suspensions are: Mike Duren, a social studies teacher who has been with the district since 1992; Paul Gustafson, a math teacher who has been with the district since 1996; Gregg (Doc) Cramer, a English teacher who has been with the district since 1977; Brad Rogeberg, a physical education teacher who has been with the district since 1994; and Parker Vivoda, a physical education teacher, who has been with the district since 1981.

Larson said the retirements of Duren, Cramer and Vivoda at the end of the school year were anticipated by the district prior to the investigation that started in December.

In addition, Rocky Falcone, an associate principal at the high school who had been with the district since 1994, chose to retire as opposed to serve an unpaid suspension, Larson said. Thomas Dunn, a retired high school social studies teacher and substitute in the district, was fired.

Two others, Jason Pertzborn, a teacher at Middleton Alternative Senior High who started with the district in 2002, and Bill Frederickson, a custodial/maintenance employee at the high school since 1992, were given verbal warnings and told to stop sending inappropriate jokes.

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