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Feud over new testing system: West Bend teacher placed on leave headed back to the classroom

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WEST BEND -- A West Bend high school social studies teacher on paid leave for the last three weeks is headed back to her classroom. Tanya Lohr was allegedly disciplined by the school district the same day she raised questions about a new testing mechanism. Support from the community helped this teacher get back to the books.

Tanya Lohr, West Bend social studies teacher

Tanya Lohr, West Bend social studies teacher

"I can't believe a school district would put their students in this position," said Lohr earlier Monday.

Lohr wasn't the only one shocked when she was placed on administrative leave.

"You are now negatively affecting their education because a teacher brought concerns forward for the staff," Lohr said.

The concerns were over a new testing system called Galileo. School district officials have defended the new program. But some teachers, including Lohr, who is also the WBEA's communications chairwoman, disagree.

"I drew up a petition outlining the four biggest concerns that staff had about the Galileo testing and I distributed the petitions for teachers to start signing," said Lohr.

West Bend West High School

West Bend West High School

As a union representative, Lohr met with administration and thought administration would send an email assuring staff there would be no repercussions if they signed that petition.

READ IT: Letter from teachers union to its members on the Lohr situation

Lohr said that did not happen -- and a second email to her placed her on paid administrative leave.

"Teachers aren't taken out of their classrooms unless there is something that is being investigated that has to do with teacher/student interaction. Teachers aren't pulled out of their classrooms because of an interaction between two adults," said Lohr.

West Bend East High School

West Bend East High School

In front of a packed West Bend School District School Board meeting Monday night, there was an outpouring of support for Lohr.

"This teacher puts her students` needs all ahead of her own," one parent said.

Some members of the community came to Lohr's defense, believing Lohr was doing what is best for the students.

"What is happening to our democracy when teachers are not allowed to circulate a petition?" Joy Schroeder said.

Kimberly Roemer launched her own petition, gathering 1,100 signatures to get Lohr back in the classroom. At Monday's school board meeting, she expressed her disgust toward district decision-makers.

"I think at this point, there`s very little concern about our teachers and our children," Roemer said.

In response to the controversy, West Bend School District School Board President Randy Marquardt read a brief statement, unable to provide specifics as to why Lohr was disciplined in the first place due to district policies. But he did reveal a change of heart on behalf of the administration.

West Bend School District School Board meeting

West Bend School District School Board meeting

"To place Ms. Lohr back in her classroom immediately," Marquardt said.

Lohr was not at the school board meeting on Monday evening.

West Bend is the first Wisconsin school district to use Galileo. The administration did send an email to parents touting the benefits of the new program.

READ IT: Letter from West Bend School District to parents about Galileo

Lohr met on Monday with administrators (prior to Monday evening's board meeting) hoping she'd be in class before finals start on Tuesday. She was told that will not happen. But now, it appears that it will.

7 comments

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  • 2ECOND

    now the taxpayers and parents should all rally together and demand an immediate resignation of all of those involved with this.

  • mark

    Unfortunaly, actions like this are what we parents of students in the WBSD have come to expect from the district administration. Our daughter was involved in the protest at the schools last year and we requested a meeting with Greymont (in my opinion he hasn’t earned the right to and does’ t deserve to be referred to as mr. or principal) to talk to him about what happened and the administrations (his) reaction to it. In the course of our conversation, (upon advise of legal counsel), I got to questioning him about the students constitutional and human rights to peacefully assemble, freely circulate and sign petitions and freedom of speech. He (very proudly and matter of factually) told my wife and myself that “HIS” students left all of their constitutional rights at the door when they entered “HIS” school. He further stated that the only rights that his students had were the ones he granted them, and that was how he ran “HIS” schools. It now seems that he feels those rules also apply to “HIS” teachers that are teaching in “HIS” schools. It also appear that the administrations’ “word” means absolutely nothing. As a child, my father always told us kids that if we gave our word on something we needed to stand behind it. A man whose word was worthless, was also himself worthless. I think that something needs to be done with people that feel that they have and are entitled to that much power over other people. If we care to remember our history, people like Lenin and Hitler thought that other peoples basic human rights were theirs to dole out as they saw fit to people that entered “their” schools (countries)

  • Ginny Kissel

    Teachers are trying to do what is best for the education of our children who are OUR FUTURE, and get punished is just insane! Let’s put the teachers back in charge of teaching our children! Time to go back to “old school” and let them do what they are trained to do… TEACH!!

  • George Possley

    THIS is what Act 10 gave school administrators! It gave them and the school boards that manage them the ability to treat teachers like PROPERTY. Tanya Lohr is a danger to these bullies because they know she has the courage to stand in front of them and call them out. Sadly, the jack-boot administration in Madison continues to support a repressive policy toward public employees. They will do whatever they can to prolong their absolute power before the voters tell them otherwise.
    There is no reason whatever that takes the welfare of Tanya Lohr’s students into ANY KIND OF CONSIDERATION that suspends this teacher for three weeks over a political position but that is exactly what happened. Those of you with your children in this system need to stand up now for the rights of your children and your children’s teachers.

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