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Teacher accused of looking at explicit emails could return to work

By Jessica Arp, jarp@wisctv.com
Published On: Jan 15 2014 11:33:31 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 08:07:36 PM CST

Channel3000.com

Images and messages Andrew Harris allegedly viewed and shared through his work email. 

MIDDLETON, Wis. -

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has declined to take on the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District appeal of a teacher who was reinstated after he was accused of viewing explicit emails at work.

The district wanted the high court to overturn an arbitrator's decision to give Glacier Creek Middle School science teacher Andrew Harris his job back and reduce the suspensions given to two other teachers.

The three were part of a grievance the teachers union filed on behalf of seven school district employees who were accused of viewing or sharing pornography or sexually inappropriate images, jokes or videos in the fall of 2009.

The court remitted the case to the appeals court Tuesday.

In a statement Wednesday, the district said it was disappointed in the court's refusal of the case.

"We still believe that the district was justified in its action to dismiss Andrew Harris," the school district said. "However, the district intends to comply with the order of the arbitrator. The Board of Education will meet in the near-future to consider how to comply with the arbitrator's decision to reinstate Andrew Harris to his former position or a substantially equivalent position."

Harris' attorney, Willie Haus, said they were still happy with the decision and Harris' chance to return to work.

"You have a career that's really been somewhat shattered, and there's some vindication involved in being able to come back and reestablish yourself, its very difficult to do otherwise," Haus said.

The MCPASD has spent more than $625,000 pursuing the case. They have called a special school board meeting for Monday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the issue.

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