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Law ups penalty for teachers who view porn

By SCOTT BAUER
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday signed into law a bill that makes the viewing of pornography on a school district’s computer reason to revoke a teacher’s license.

Before the law change, a teacher’s license could only be revoked for immoral conduct. That is defined as conducts that is contrary to commonly accepted moral or ethical standards and that endangers the health, safety, welfare, or education of any student.

The new law makes clear that immoral conduct includes using the school’s computer to view, seek or download pornographic material.

The law also requires the state Department of Public Instruction to post the name of the license holder under investigation, as well as the results of the inquiry, on its website.

The measure was one of seven bills Walker signed in Racine. Another bill Walker signed allows Wisconsin schools to discriminate against convicted felons when considering whether to hire or fire them. Current law allows for employers to discriminate against convicted criminals only if their offense directly relates to the job in question.

But under the new law, it is be legal for any public or private school to refuse to hire or to fire any convicted felon, whether their crime relates to the job or not.

The law applies only to felons who have not been pardoned.

Walker also signed a bill that requires all school workers from custodians to aides to report any suspected child abuse. That is an expansion from current law which requires only teachers, administrators and counselors to report suspected abuse to county human services workers or local law enforcement.

The law prohibits anyone who makes a child abuse report in good faith from being fired or otherwise disciplined.

All of the bills were sponsored by Republicans but passed with bipartisan support.

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