BEFORE THE ARBITRATOR
In the Matter of the Arbitration of a Dispute Between
CHILTON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
CHILTON SCHOOL DISTRICT
Cullen, Weston, Pines & Bach, by Attorney Gordon E.
McQuillen, 20 North Carroll Street,
Madison, WI 53703, appearing on behalf of the Grievant.
Davis & Kuelthau, by Attorney Paul C. Hemmer, 605
North 8th Street, #610, P.O. Box 1287,
Sheboygan, WI 53082, appearing on behalf of the District.
The Association and District named above are parties to a 1995-97 collective
agreement which provides for final and binding arbitration of certain grievances. The parties
requested that the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission appoint an arbitrator to hear
resolve the grievances of Russell Sarasin. The undersigned was appointed and held hearings
Chilton, Wisconsin on October 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and December 16, 17, all in 1997. The
completed filing briefs by June 1, 1998.
The parties stipulated that these are the issues to be decided:
Did the School District have just cause to suspend Russell Sarasin for
three days as a
consequence of his conduct during second hour art class on January 7, 1997? If not, what
is the appropriate remedy?
Did the School District have just cause to non-renew the
individual employment contract of
Russell Sarasin for the 1997-98 school year? If not, what is the appropriate remedy?
The Grievant is Russell Sarasin, a 59 year old art teacher who has been employed at
District since August 15, 1982, when he was hired for part-time employment. He became a
teacher on August 21, 1984 through the school year of 1996-97, when his employment
not renewed by the District. The parties agreed to combine two grievances -- the
and a prior suspension -- and have the Arbitrator resolve both of them. There are no
issues, but the merits are lengthy. Much of the record involves the high school principal,
Schaid, who started his duties on July 1, 1990, and was the immediate supervisor of Sarasin
Sarasin was at the high school. Sarasin had four class periods at the high school and two at
elementary school. Richard Appel is the elementary school principal and Sarasin's
The District Administrator is Dr. W.I. DeMaster.
The Potter's Wheel Demonstration
Sarasin was suspended for three days for an incident in the classroom on January 7,
Schaid was making rounds and stopped in the classroom, second hour arts and crafts period,
date. What Schaid saw and heard is a matter of considerable debate and interpretation.
walked by the art room and noticed a demonstration going on, and he went in to observe it.
had the students lined up in a semi-circle so they could all see him -- there are about 19
the class. Sarasin was demonstrating the way to work with clay on a potter's wheel. Schaid
about 15 feet away with the students and was able to see and hear Sarasin. Sarasin saw his
feet and knew immediately that Schaid was in the room. However, Schaid did not believe
Sarasin knew that he was in the room until after he made a comment that resulted in the
suspension. What Schaid saw and heard is described in his January 10, 1997, letter to
is a notice of disciplinary suspension:
On Tuesday, January 7, 1997, I visited the art room
during your 2nd period Arts & Crafts
class. Your students were gathered around the Potter's Wheel and you were engaged in a
demonstration as to how to appropriately prepare a mound of clay for modeling. You
work with the clay, keeping it wet, then grasping it with your hands and drawing up on it
into a shaft of clay, about a foot in length from top to bottom. You described to your class
was the first step in preparing the wet and softened clay. You then began to rotate your
around the tip of the shaft of the clay and said, "now boys like to play with the end of this, I
know why," after which you looked up to the class with a smile. Some of the class members
shocked and embarrassed, and others began to chuckle and giggle.
During the course of subsequent interviews
with separate individuals who were present during
this class, it became apparent that your comment, along with the simultaneous motion of
and subsequent smile, was perceived by those present to have inappropriate sexual overtones
innuendo. That clearly was my observation, as well.
In the course of the conference you and
CEA Representative Fred Klaeser had with me on
Wednesday, January 8, 1997, at 2:40 p.m., you acknowledged:
1) That you "probably" made the comment
as referenced in paragraph one, above.
2) That you referred to "playing with the
end of it" with your thumbs on more than one
occasion in your attempt to explain your actions as referenced in paragraph one, above.
3) That you stated the students "thought
they were being sexually harassed".
4) That in addition to your actions and
comment in the course of preparing the clay, your
statements in the course of instruction had strong and inappropriate sexual connotations,
5) That you attempted to diminish the
severity of the reprimand which you received on May
8, 1992, for telling inappropriate sexual jokes.
In addition to the philosophy of the School
District of Chilton as outlined in Board Policy 311,
Board Policy numbers 532.3,a.,e.; 532.32,a.,b.; and 532, c.,d.,i.,l.,x., all charge you with
responsibility of utilizing the best possible teaching techniques to provide for the positive
ethical, and moral growth of the students of the School District of Chilton. Additionally,
Policy 423 clearly shows that Harassment, be it sexual or otherwise, will not be tolerated on
of anyone employed by or in attendance to the School District of Chilton. A review of your
Personnel File shows you have engaged in this type of conduct in the past. This is well
and has been thoroughly discussed with you. You have once again violated the expectations
requirements as outlined Board Policy. The use of sexual comments, gestures, overtones,
innuendo, no matter how intended, either verbally or non-verbally, is unacceptable and will
tolerated. This is particularly true with respect to instruction.
Therefore, on the basis of your conduct on
January 7, 1997, you are hereby suspended from
employment, without compensation, for three (3) working days beginning with Monday,
1997. You may resume your contractual duties
on Thursday, January 16, 1997. You are
also warned and advised that any future conduct
of this type will result in further and more severe disciplinary action to include dismissal
employment or non-renewal of your employment contract. Govern your actions accordingly.
Schaid and Sarasin had a conference the following day. Sarasin brought in Frederick
as an Association representative, and Schaid asked the middle school principal, Robert
Knadle, to sit
in and take notes. The meeting was also recorded on audio tape. When Schaid asked
Sarasin for his
comments, Sarasin told Schaid that he did not hear the instructions before or after and was
only a few minutes. Sarasin told Schaid that the particular group of students in that class is
anyone can get a "C" grade, so he tries to break the exercise down into simple language.
Out of the
19 students in that class, 10 had exceptional educational needs, some were LD, some were
Sarasin sometimes tells students that the clay has two parts -- the rough, macho part, the
make it stand, and the girl part that is smooth, silky and slippery. Sometimes he refers to
of clay as oil and motor. Sarasin told Schaid that if he tried to tell the students that clay is
silica, water, bentonite, brominime, talc, redart and rogart, they would not have the slightest
what he was talking about.
Sarasin referred to Nelson's Pottery Book, which says that you press down and push
in at the
same time. He said that the kids never understood that method, but they understand when he
that he has to put his thumbs over the center, right on the end and push it down and away
Schaid and Sarasin disagreed on whether Sarasin was rotating his thumbs on the end of the
not. Sarasin told Schaid that he wanted to be sure that the students crossed their thumbs on
but not to rotate them. Sarasin told Schaid that Schaid was getting sex mixed up with clay,
Schaid told him that four individuals felt -- (Schaid gave a long pause here) -- Sarasin
words "sexually harassed," with some exasperation. Schaid told Sarasin that one student
Sarasin was talking about a penis, or some guy's "ding dong," and another that he was
"a guy jacking off." Sarasin said it wasn't meant that way, it was simply meant to bring the
and push it away from you and down. He told Schaid that he was making a mountain out of
hill. Schaid brought up a reprimand of Sarasin in 1992 for a joke with sexual innuendo, and
told Schaid that he hasn't told a joke since then. Sarasin told Schaid that he was not talking
boys having to play with the "end of it" but that he was talking about the clay end, and he
if Schaid got a different connotation of it. Schaid told Sarasin that students were
about the comments in the classroom, but he refused to tell Sarasin who they were or when
talked with them. Sarasin asked Schaid if he interviewed a student that Sarasin had kicked
class but Schaid refused to tell him.
Klaeser testified that he felt a little "bushwhacked" at the meeting, that he thought
going in to get the facts straight and hear Sarasin's side of the story, and he did not expect to
tape recorder. Klaeser stated that Sarasin used the words "sexually harassed" in a tone of
exasperation but not as an admission of anything. Klaeser was also running a tape of the
with a pocket tape recorder.
The following day, Sarasin told Schaid that he wanted to give him a letter of
should clear up the matter, which Schaid received on February 3, 1997, the same day that
was meeting to consider his non-renewal. Sarasin's letter (dated January 31, 1997) states:
At the meeting, discussed in the memo, I was asked
strange questions and later even stranger
accusations were implied. The statements that you alleged were taken out of context and
I want to make it very clear. I was demonstrating to
students how to center clay on a potters
wheel. I have done this for twenty years, the same way. Somehow Mr. Schaid got the
I was demonstrating some sort of sexual activity. He was very, very wrong.
Pottery is as difficult as learning how to balance a bike,
play an instrument, or cast a fly.
Students need to see the centering process in slow motion so they can emulate the same
they take my place behind the wheel. I wanted students to pay close attention to the
my hands, not the clay. I instruct them to pull the clay to a 12 inch shaft, cross their thumbs
end of the shaft, push away, press down, and release the clay easy. When I center the clay,
student understanding, in slow motion the task becomes more difficult to handle. These are
the technical problems that were occurring. The clay was not wedged well, the consistency
too moist, the body was spent because of the demonstration, the clay had became undercut,
beginning to wobble out of control. A small foreign piece of metal was clicking my
had to be removed from the top of the shaft. I was struggling to get the clay under control.
the struggle some comments were made to explain what was happening to the clay. None of
were ever meant to be sexual and my intent was never sexual.
The terms I used in my comment were:
*Boys - My
hands are the boys and are referred to as the boys. The boys have to work
together like a team.
*Like to play
- This is a causal terms used in the arts. Play with the design, Play with the
paint. Play with the clay.
*With the end of
this - This was referring to the most important spot to place your hands
when centering clay.
*I don't know
why - I was challenging my students to discover the technique of centering
*The smile on my
face - I had been able to recontrol the clay. I won the battle. It was a
smile of self satisfaction.
You state that I admitted to sexual harassment. I have
never done so; again you have twisted
I use many examples of comparison to help my students
to understand what makes the clay
work: water from an icicle, oil in a motor, water on the floor, grease on an axle, nothing is
meant to be sexual in the classroom.
Further, I have never diminished the fact of the severity
of the reprimand for sexual
harassment I received in 1992.
In fact, I was well aware that you were observing in my
classroom. Why would I put myself
in jeopardy at this time? To reiterate, I deny the statements that you allege that I said in
of January 10, 1997. It was not what was said, nor what was meant.
I hope this will straighten out this matter. In fact you
may check with Fred Klaeser to confirm
my version of the meeting.
Schaid testified that when he was observing Sarasin in the classroom, he never saw
to a foreign object in the clay or lift some off and set it aside or see him struggle to get the
control. Schaid believed that Sarasin smiled because he was being clever or sly. Schaid
Sarasin's rotation of his thumbs, the comment about the boys like to play with the end of
this, and his
smile were all tied in together and created a sexual image, particularly because the clay
a penis to Schaid. Schaid testified that Sarasin stopped smiling when he looked up and saw
In a private conference conducted before the Board on February 3, 1997, Sarasin
videotape to demonstrate how he teaches kids to work with clay on a potter's wheel. In the
videotape, he referred to his hands as "boys" -- a left boy, a right boy, how the "boys" need
together like a team, crossing their thumbs and pushing away and down at the same time.
explained in the videotape that to "play" with clay means to "work" with clay. He also
how the clay, when brought up for shaping, would look phallic from one point of view. He
that there was a saw blade at the tip of the clay. The shape of the clay as it was brought up
tape was not as tall as that which Schaid saw on January 7, 1997. Schaid did not see Sarasin
his thumbs on the videotape in the same manner as he saw in the classroom. Schaid also did
Sarasin call his hands "the boys" in the classroom demonstration or refer to "left boy" and
Schaid testified that the DPI guide for curriculum planning in art education makes no
references in the curriculum about ceramic instruction. The end of the curriculum guide also
"The arts sometimes raise issues of sexuality that can either be ignored or addressed as
. . " and it goes on to suggest how such matters be handled. The District's local curriculum
has no sexual references. Schaid also looked up a copy of the 5th edition of Nelson's book
Ceramics, A Potter's Handbook which was in the art room of the high school and found no
analogies or references in it.
Schaid said that he would expect one or two students with exceptional education
in Sarasin's arts and crafts class. However, Sarasin stated that there were 10 out of 19 in
that had exceptional educational needs, some LD, some ED.
For the purpose of the arbitration hearing, the District sought out an associate
art at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, Anne-Bridget Gary. She has taught art
for 15 or
16 years, including elementary students for a couple of years while a substitute teacher but
students with exceptional education needs. Her current field is primarily in ceramics and art
education. The District asked her to review the local and state curriculum, the ceramics
the Nelson text, and a videotape that Sarasin prepared to demonstrate his technique in
clay. Gary prepared a report for the District and also sent a video created by herself
her throwing of clay on the potter's wheel. One of the statements in her report is the
Sexual analogies used by the instructor in the classroom
are never appropriate teaching tools.
A very tall cone made during the centering process is unnecessary -- it is rather showy, in
good or proper technique. Using the thumbs in the way Mr. Sarasin used them in the
not seem, in my professional opinion, appropriate. . . . "Male/Female" references are never
in showing appropriate "technique."
Gary also testified by telephone at the arbitration hearing and said that Sarasin's
showed that he had too much water and clay to begin with, unless someone was very skilled.
stated that the way that Sarasin created the cone of clay and raised it and pushed it back
not necessary, although she knew some potters might do that.
Sarasin was using ten pounds of clay, while Gary used a two-pound ball of clay. He
that if he used a clay ball as small as Gary's, the group of students would not see what he
so he over-emphasized what he was doing. Sarasin testified that the small amount of clay
was fine for an individual camera or an individual sitting right in front of it, but not for 19
people gathered around. Sarasin said he has the skill to handle up to 50 pounds of clay.
of clay being used made a difference in how tall the cone or shaft is made. Sarasin said that
potters first start, they bend their thumbs down and dig a hole into the clay, so he tries to
you use your thumbs up and put one thumb on top of the other. He calls his hands "the
because they have to work together like a team, and that's an analogy he has used in
He noted that Gary used her hands and thumbs just as he did, only with a smaller size clay
noted that Gary talked about children creating and playing with the clay, and that was what
when he was talking about playing with it.
Sarasin testified that it was not unusual for him to find foreign objects in the clay
as the piece of a jewelry saw blade that he found the day of the demonstration that Schaid
did not make a big deal out of it in class, and he testified that a casual observer would not
that he was about to lose control of the clay, something he did not want to happen in front of
Sarasin stated that when he had the conference with Schaid, in Klaeser's presence, he
the words "sexually harassed" in a frustrated tone of voice, because every time he has gone
Schaid's office since 1992, he has been accused of sexually harassment or reminded that he
jokes in 1992. His words, spoken in frustration in that conference, were not an admission to
sexually harassed students.
Other Prior Discipline
There are four prior disciplinary actions in Sarasin's record over which there is no
These were not grieved and were clearly noted as disciplinary actions, unlike other notices to
discussed later. There was a reprimand in 1992 for telling lewd jokes, a reprimand in 1992
inappropriate discipline of a student, a reprimand in 1996 for inappropriate language with
students, and a one-day suspension in 1996 for swearing at a student.
The first reprimand was on May 8, 1992. Schaid sent Sarasin the following letter:
On April 29, 1992, I received a report
from another staff member indicating that a call had
been received from a parent of one of your students expressing concern about your demeanor
5th period Drawing and Painting Class. The allegations were as follows:
1) That you had been making lewd and
vulgar jokes and/or comments in class.
2) That you had been
making statements with sexual overtones and/or inferences in class.
During the course of subsequent
investigations, which included separate discussions with
individual students and others, I was able to conclude and verify that there was substance to
above allegations. My investigation also showed that similar comments have been received
in the past
that would suggest these allegations not to be a new phenomenon.
You will recall from the conference you and Dale
Voskuil, CEA Representative, had with
myself on May 5, 1992, at 3:20 p.m., that you admitted to the following specific allegations.
1) That you have told "Blond" jokes in class.
2) That you did tell the following joke: "How does a
Blond part her hair? She squats."
3) That you did make the following statement about an
art student's carving of a Beaver, and
understood the inference that could be perceived: "Yes, I always tell (Student's
Name) that I like her
4) That you avoided the implementation of
any disciplinary measures with a specific student
when called a "Fucker" by that specific student after you allegedly offended her with a
In addition to the philosophy of the School District of
Chilton as outlined in Board Policy 311,
Board Policy numbers 312,b.,d.,F.; 313,b.,c.,d.,k.,l.; and 321.1,d., and F., all charge you
responsibility of utilizing the best possible teaching techniques to provide for the positive
ethical, and moral growth of the students of Chilton Public School. Furthermore, Board
532.3,a.,e.; 532.31,a.; 532.32,a.; and 532.33, c.,d.,i, and e, indicate that your role, duties,
responsibilities as a teacher for the School District of Chilton include the development of just
courteous relationships with students, that you show no prejudice or partiality when dealing
students, that you be responsible for the care and discipline of students, and that you have
and development of students as your first concern in all work performed for the school
Finally, Board Policy number 533.901 indicates that discrimination on the basis of sex is not
condoned by the School District of Chilton. It is clear that the allegations to which you
show that your performance has deviated from these expectations as outlined in the above
sections of Board Policy.
The use of lewd and vulgar jokes and/or comments, the
making of comments with sexual
overtones and/or inferences, and/or the failure to implement consistent disciplinary measures
identified in your current faculty handbook, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated on the
employees of the School District of Chilton. Therefore, you are hereby reprimanded for
in these behaviors and are further advised and warned that any future acts or conduct as
above will result in further and more severe disciplinary action, which could include, but is
to, non-compensated suspension, dismissal, or non-renewal of your contract.
Should you need assistance in your efforts to rectify
these shortcomings, please know that I
will make myself available upon your request.
The faculty handbook includes a policy statement on sexual harassment. It defines
harassment as, among other things, verbal abuse or joking that is sexually oriented and
unacceptable by another individual, telling dirty jokes that are clearly unwanted and
offensive by others, or tasteless, sexually oriented comments, innuendoes or actions that
others. The handbook also refers to the relationship between students and teachers, and that
and students are not equals, that teachers are not the students' buddies.
Regarding the fourth allegation in the letter of reprimand -- that Sarasin did not
any disciplinary measures when a student called him a "fucker" -- Schaid testified that
the student he could have her sent to the office for disciplinary measures if he wanted to, and
replied that she had plenty to tell the office herself.
Sarasin received another reprimand on November 30, 1992, from Schaid, regarding
discipline of a student. Schaid testified the a student came to his office crying and upset over
chastisement and confrontation that she had with Sarasin, who was angry with her for getting
oil paint all over a sink and a sponge. A day later, Sarasin came to Schaid and
he had accused the wrong student. Schaid felt that Sarasin had violated Board policies as
policies contained in the Faculty Handbook. Schaid sent the following letter:
On November 24, 1992, I received a report from a
student regarding an incident that occurred
between the two of you at the beginning of your 3rd period class on the same date in
will recall that you and I conferred about this incident both on the date in question and on
25, 1992. I have also had the opportunity to interview two students who were present during
above referenced incident.
I am very disturbed by both the actions you took during
this incident, and the initial attitude
you displayed over the issue as is well documented from the first of our two conferences as
mentioned above. It has been determined and substantiated that the actions you took during
incident were as follows:
1) You lost control of your temper and emotional state
of being as you attempted to resolve
a disciplinary situation in your classroom.
2) You verbally berated and demeaned a student in a
disciplinary situation, by vigorously
chastising her in the presence of other students in the class.
3) You did not act with prudence over this situation,
jumping to a conclusion instead of
taking the necessary time to obtain the facts.
4) You showed no regard for the
well-being of a pupil in your attempt to resolve a
disciplinary issue that frustrated you.
As a result of these actions you:
a) Did not model what is regarded as appropriate and
rational behavior and in accordance
with the goals and philosophies of the School District of Chilton.
b) May have tarnished an individual's self-esteem, your
own professional reputation and that
of the school's, and the Art Program of Chilton High School.
These actions and potential consequences
are clearly in violation of Board of Education policy
as attached and highlighted, and will not be tolerated on the part of any employee of the
District of Chilton. Therefore, you are hereby
reprimanded for the actions taken by you
with regard to this incident and are hereby advised
to take what steps are necessary to immediately rectify these shortcomings, including but not
to the following:
1. You are to maintain an emotionally detached state of
being when dealing with difficult
2. Keep the worth and dignity of every student in the
forefront of your mind as you decide
upon all actions to be taken with and for students.
3. Prior to reaching a conclusion
with regard to student disciplinary situations, conduct an
exhaustive investigation to obtain all facts associated with the incident(s).
4. Read, understand, and adhere to
all Chilton Board of Education Policy, paying particular
attention to the attached highlighted portion of that policy (policy omitted in this Award), of
your actions of 11/24/92 were in violation.
5. Read the book entitled, "Assertive Discipline, A
Take-Charge Approach for Today's
Educator," by Lee Canter, which is available for checkout from my office, and develop a
plan for your classroom which is to be presented to me by December 11, 1992, at which
time we will
discuss the implementation of such and timeliness for monitoring progress. It is also
you enroll in an Assertive Discipline course next summer.
Failure to rectify these
short-comings and adhere to the above expectations will result in
further and more severe disciplinary actions to include, but not limited to, non-compensated
suspension, dismissal, or non-renewal of your contract.
Should you need further assistance in your efforts to
rectify these shortcomings, please know
that I will make myself available upon your request.
Another reprimand was given to Sarasin on January 16, 1996, by the current
school principal, Richard Appel. The letter of reprimand states:
On January 11, 1996, I received information from both
parents and students that an incident
occurred on Wednesday, January 10, 1996, during your art class with Mrs. Watkins' class.
discussed this incident both with the parents that raised some concern along with many
the class. In addition, I also sat down and discussed the incident with yourself on Friday,
12, 1996. You admitted that the incident did in fact take place and that you were sorry that
gone this far. I have further looked at you personnel file which indicates that this type of
has been noted on two other occasions.
I am extremely disturbed that this incident took place.
The action that you took in handling
your class was inappropriate and unprofessional. The following information has been
my questioning with yourself and other parties involved:
1) You used an extremely graphic story to try and prove
a point to your students not to run
with a pencil. (A boy who poked his eye out by running and stabbing a pencil into his eye).
used as a scare tactic to keep kids from breaking the rule.
2) You told the students that their
(sic) was a special potion that was on the piranha teeth
that you had hanging around your neck. You stated that they would all die if they touched
teeth. Again you used a scare tactic to try and get your students to try and follow your
3) You told the class that their last
teacher was going to be Mrs. Watkins because they were
all going to die. The students were extremely confused over this comment and were quite
4) You began the class in a very bad mood that was
quite apparent to your students.
Students immediately received their names on the board for talking to one another. I have
your classroom and have not seen this "no talking" expectation addressed or enforced in your
classroom prior to this. Students need consistency and structure and I feel that with your
swift discipline that you displayed these students saw neither.
As a result of these actions you:
a) Did not exhibit
professional judgment or behavior in accordance with the goals and
philosophies of the School District of Chilton.
b) I am concerned for the
students' self esteem that your comments may have
damaged during your class with this second grade, the outlook that they have on you as a
teacher/person, your art program as a whole, and the reputation of yourself and this school
These actions and potential
consequences are clearly in violation of the Board of Education
policy as attached and highlighted, and will not be tolerated on the part of any employee of
District of Chilton. Therefore, you are hereby reprimanded for the actions taken by you
to this incident and are hereby advised to take what steps are necessary to immediately
shortcomings, including but not limited to the following:
1) Immediately apologize to the
entire class for your inappropriate behavior and poor
judgment in using sarcasm and humor that was not age appropriate or suitable to be used in
2) Cease using inappropriate sarcasm or humor in your
classrooms. You must understand the
age level of your audience and adjust your lessons accordingly.
3) You must treat each and every student
with respect and care. Students must be dealt with
honestly and it is vital that all students know their consequences before their action even
4) Read, understand, and adhere to all
Chilton Board of Education Policies, paying close
attention to the attached highlighted portion of that policy, of which your actions of 1/10/96
Failure to rectify these
short-comings and adhere to the above expectations will result in
further and more severe disciplinary action to be taken against you to include, but not limited
non-compensated suspension, dismissal, or non-renewal of your contract.
Should you need further assistance
in your efforts to rectify these shortcomings, please see
Appel said the second grade teacher came to him with some
concerns after she heard from
a parent, and he called in four students and their parents. He found that the students were
by Sarasin at the start of the class because he was agitated and he put their names on the
talking. Sarasin had been to South America over Christmas vacation and brought back some
teeth on a necklace for a discussion. Sarasin was talking about hunting, using a blow gun,
a dart into poison for hunting, poison that killed missionaries, etc. He testified that he did
not tell the
students that there was poison on the teeth or the blow gun dart or that they would die if they
touched the teeth. He passed the teeth around for the children to look at them. According to
Sarasin said that Mrs. Watkins would be their last teacher because they were going to die if
touched the piranha teeth. According to Appel, a child then touched the teeth and Sarasin
the phone and simulated dialing 911. Appel testified that Sarasin never mentioned the blow
to him. Later in the class, a child was twirling a ruler on a pencil and started to go toward
sharpener. Sarasin said that he told the student, "Don't run, you'll poke your eye out." He
that when he was in third grade, he knew a boy who poked his eye out while running with a
but he did not tell that story to the students. Sarasin apologized to the class in front of
Sarasin stated that he frequently used the system of putting kids' names on the board for
Appel agreed that it was an appropriate disciplinary technique.
Sarasin received a one-day suspension to be served on May 8, 1996, for his conduct
student. The notice of the suspension states:
It was reported to me that your behavior during an
incident with a student from your 3rd
period class on May 2, 1996, may have been questionable. A subsequent investigation into
matter led to some serious concerns regarding your professional behavior. You will recall
discussed the specifics of these serious concerns during the conference we had over this
Friday, May 3, 1996.
Your actions with this student in an attempt to discipline
her for being out of your classroom,
and the subsequent discussions you had regarding this incident in your 4th period class on the
in question disturb me greatly. It has been determined and substantiated that the following
1) In an effort to intervene with a student who was out
of your classroom during the
instructional period, you chose to inappropriately verbally berate her with socially
language, saying to this student, "what the hell are you doing in the hall, get your god damn
in the classroom."
2) During your subsequent 4th
period art class on that day, you chose to share with your
students the details of the incident, the name of the student involved in the incident, and your
disposition over the incident.
These types of actions on your part
have occurred in the past, are well documented, and have
each been thoroughly discussed with you along with methods presented to assist you to
identified shortcomings. Your actions in this matter have once again violated the policies of
Board of Education. The use of inappropriate methods and language to discipline students
be tolerated on the part of any employee of the School District of Chilton. Additionally, the
District of Chilton expects its employees to maintain confidentiality regarding the behavior,
and health records of all students.
On the basis of your conduct on
May 2, 1996, you are hereby suspended from employment,
without compensation, for one (1) working day on Wednesday, May 8, 1996. You are
warned and further advised that any future use of inappropriate methods and language to
students will result in further and more severe disciplinary action to include dismissal from
employment or non-renewal of your employment contract. Govern your actions accordingly.
Schaid testified that the student involved came to the office and told the assistant
about the incident, and he in turn told Schaid about it. Schaid's investigation of the matter
that when Sarasin swore at the student, she told him to "get fucked." Sarasin was agitated
incident and told his next hour class the name of the student, what she said to him, and that
going to see that she was kicked out of art class with no credit.
Sarasin had sent the student to the kiln room upstairs, and she didn't come back to
but went to the physical education lockers and stole some money. The office told him never
that student out of his room again, even with a pass. He stated that as a reward, he
his kids out ahead of the physical education class to go to lunch, and he saw this particular
coming from the locker area. He told her to come here, but she kept walking away from
Sarasin testified that he blew it, lost his temper, and told her to get "her god damn ass back
to his room. He tried to talk to her about the rules she was to follow, but she told him that
no more authority over her, that she "was fucking out of here". He was still angry when his
started and he told the students what she had said to him. Sarasin expected some support
office -- the student eventually got one or two hours of detention and apologized to Sarasin
getting him in trouble.
On October 21, 1992, the former elementary principal, Robert Garfield, set out in
concerns over an incident between Sarasin and another teacher, Miss Arnevik. The incident
a few days before when Arnevik held some students in after class to finish a math test, and
missed the first part of Sarasin's art class. Sarasin said that students kept trickling into his
he had to reintroduce the lesson three times. He sent the students back to Arnevik's class
message that she should bring her entire class to him. Garfield's letter addresses his
included putting students in the middle of a disagreement between staff members, the angry
confrontation between Sarasin and Arnevik in front of students, using students to carry angry
messages, the loss of instructional time as well as Arnevik's prep time, and the
Sarasin took issue with Garfield's letter, the tone and threat of non-renewal, and
back on October 26, 1992, pointing out that he did not know the school had a policy that
one teacher to keep students from coming to art class without mutual agreement between the
staff members. He refused to take all the blame, and stated in his letter that Garfield and
were partially to blame for the incident. Sarasin testified that Arnevik had kept kids back in
sending part of the class to him, four or five times in the past and he wanted that practice to
Sarasin had never heard that the District's priority was reading and math, and he considered
art to be
as important as other areas.
Garfield responded to Sarasin's letter with another one of his own, stating that he
Sarasin missed the main point which was that disputes among teachers in the presence of
laymen were unjustifiable. He also attached some Board policies and again warned that a
compliance with Board policy would result in discipline.
While Schaid agreed that Garfield's letter was not a reprimand, he also testified that
thought it was disciplinary and it could have been grieved under the collective bargaining
On February 7, 1994, Sarasin dismissed a student from art class and spoke with
it the next day. This resulted in Schaid placing another letter in Sarasin's file regarding
the use of socially unacceptable language in the presence of students, and telling Sarasin to
from using such language immediately. The student came to the office to complain. Schaid
that Sarasin told him that he told the class that he and his wife had taken a trip to Jamaica
he found and kept a small portion of marijuana, and that he meant this in a joking way.
admitted swearing at the student and saying, "I'm tired of your shit and I'm sick of your
an attempt to discipline the student. Sarasin agreed with Schaid later that this was
Sarasin testified that when he talked to Schaid about this student, Schaid said that this student
drive anybody nuts or something to that effect.
On May 31, 1994, Schaid sent a hand written memo to Sarasin stating the books of
were laying on the students' tables when he came in at the end of the 3rd period. Schaid
that because the passes were too accessible to the students, and he asked that Sarasin keep
with him or put them in his desk. He also noted that there were seven to nine minutes left
came into class but a lot of students were "off task." He asked that Sarasin have activities
for all the time.
Since the date in question was May 31st, it was likely that those students "off task"
finished art projects for the end of the year. Sarasin thought they were looking at
something he has them do in order to be able to draw certain things without having the
front of them. Sarasin does not believe that Schaid would be able to tell whether or not art
were "off task" or not. Sarasin could not recall exactly what students were doing this day by
of the hearing.
On November 4, 1994, Sarasin reported to Schaid that he had loaned his keys to two
to get gas from the shop. The students gave the keys back to Sarasin, but he lost them and
that the students had not returned them. Sarasin later found the keys, but Schaid put a letter
on November 23, 1994, regarding lending keys to students. Schaid stated that he was deeply
disturbed by Sarasin's actions, which were not in accordance with Board policy, and that any
in the future would result in disciplinary action. Schaid had the custodians change the lock
back entrance to the building as a result of the lost keys, although Sarasin said he never got
keys. Schaid testified that his memo "warned" Sarasin that future difficulties would result in
severe disciplinary action, that he intended it to be disciplinary in nature, to call Sarasin's
to the regulations. Sarasin never loaned his keys to students again.
On December 1, 1995, Schaid sent Sarasin a handwritten note regarding assessment
which are mid-quarter reports for students. A parent told Schaid that Sarasin was allowing
to complete their own forms, which are to be completed by teachers. Schaid told Sarasin
that it was
his obligation to evaluate students. Sarasin often had students grade their own work, to
art work, then went over it with them. After getting this note, he stopped the practice.
On February 13, 1996, Schaid sent Sarasin a note stating that Schaid was
him giving instructions during the daily announcements in the second period that day, since
second and fifth periods have minutes added to them to accommodate daily announcements
teachers are to have students pay attention to them. In this instance, Schaid said that Sarasin
not have been teaching but had students listening.
Later that year, Schaid sent Sarasin a memo on April 18, 1996, based on what the
Administrator DeMaster reported to him, that several students were not doing anything
first period in art class, and that Sarasin was not teaching or discussing anything with those
who were not engaged in any art learning or instruction. Schaid reminded him that he
should be using
all instruction minutes for teaching and learning. Schaid said Sarasin never spoke to him
memo. Sarasin said that he spoke with Schaid, that Schaid said that DeMaster was just
another PMS day.
On November 21, 1996, Schaid sent Sarasin a memo regarding three matters. First,
Sarasin that his attendance sheets were not being picked up by the runner because they were
the attendance clip when the runner came by. Schaid noted that Sarasin was to take
the start of the period and place the sheet on the clip right away. Secondly, Schaid noted
found two students in the halls at the end of the fourth hour -- one of them was to take the
sheet to the office and the other was to deliver something. Schaid noted that deliveries
made after class, and there would be no need to run the attendance sheet to the office if he
it as noted previously. Finally, Schaid stated that he frequently saw Ian Geiser, a former
the building and was told that he may have been installing non-district software on their
He told Sarasin that visitors must be arranged in advance and not be visiting during class
had signed the visitors log in accordance with visitors' procedures. Sarasin told Schaid that
arrangements in advance for Geiser to visit, that Geiser had signed in, and that Geiser was
anything inappropriate onto the District's computer. Schaid did not have knowledge to
dispute Sarasin's response.
On December 18, 1996, Appel called Sarasin to his office for a discussion regarding
the day before when Sarasin fell asleep. The meeting was held after classes, about 3:15
Sarasin fell asleep mid way through it. Sarasin told Appel that he did not know about the
until that day, and that he had taken a medication -- Sudafed -- beforehand which made him
Appel told him that he didn't "buy that" because Appel did not believe that Sudafed would
someone sleepy. Sarasin mentioned how hard he works, that he was 58 years old and Appel
if the job was too demanding, he should get out, quit or retire. Sarasin told him that he had
years until that would happen. Sarasin would have had a notice of the meeting in his
he shares with his wife, who is the department head. The notice of the meeting was issued
in advance of the meeting. Sarasin also takes dilantin and phenobarbital because he has had
since he was 22 years old, and he told Appel that he had epilepsy.
The Chalk Incident
The chalk incident is in a class of its own. It is unclear whether this incident ever
discipline or not, much like other memos that will be discussed later, particularly in the
section of this Award. The incident is better explained by taking it out of chronological
Sarasin's letter to Schaid first:
I am writing in response to the letter you wrote to me on
May 4, 1993, regarding the sign-painting/chalk-pastel drawing incident.
I was given a directive by you to have the school sign
painted by May 19, 1993. I waited for
a sunny dry day for painting, and one that was predicting rain for the following day so that
pastel would wash off the sidewalk. I could not put this in my lesson plan, since I could not
the weather a week in advance. On Friday, April 23rd, I took my entire class outside to
sign. My classes have painted the sign three times before. Past experience has taught me
entire class of high school students cannot paint the sign at the same time without having
dripping all over the students clothing and paint accidentally spilling on the ground. I did
same thing when we painted the sign in 1987; part of the class painted the sign and others
cooperative chalk-pastel drawing of a friendly dragon. Chalk-pastel drawing is in our art
under drawing enabling learner expectations, p. 14. Repainting signs is not in our art
I have always been more than willing to assist the school is such activities. Little did I think
the school district a favor would result in a letter in my personnel file.
On the afternoon of April 23rd, I went over to the
elementary school to finish my contract
obligations of teaching two elementary art classes. While I was teaching my class, I was
to take a telephone call from you. You asked me who did the chalk pastel drawing on the
I told you that I instructed students to do so, while the other students painted the sign. Ten
later I was interrupted again to take a telephone call from you. During this conversation you
me to come over to the high school and wash off the chalk drawing. I said no I can't, that I
class; you said, "Are you refusing me? Let me get my pad and pencil." Again, I said I
have a class
and you slammed the phone down. I believe I was unfairly judged. I was not
of voice inflections, and being insubordinate because I chose to continue teaching my
students. In my mind I'm here to professionally serve my students and will continue to carry
duty to the best of my ability.
It's my belief I had the following three choices:
1. Cancel Miss Arnevik's class and send them back to
her. I decided to send her class back
once before and I got a letter in my file from Mr. Garfield reprimanding me for the loss of
her prep time. I decided this wasn't a good choice.
2. I thought about getting one of the elementary
secretaries to watch over my class while I
went back to the high school and washed off the chalk drawing, but then I remembered I
gotten a letter in my file from you, Mr. Schaid, in reference to using secretaries to monitor
while I attended to the kiln. This is a quote from your letter. "I am concerned because
absences place a non-certified individual in charge of a class, a violation of D.P.I. licensing
regulations. In addition, the loss of valuable instructional time is phenomenal." I decided
wasn't a good idea.
3. I, thinking to myself while I'm on the phone with
you, what is so offensive about a chalk
pastel drawing of a friendly dragon on a sidewalk? Why are you being so insistent that it get
off now, when it was predicted to rain, and it did, the following day. I chose to stay with
students. I immediately went to the high school after I dismissed my elementary students at
I had a short conversation with you. I indicated I really did not want to wash the drawing
the entire student body were being dismissed, you said to me that you did not expect me to
Even though our contract states we are free to leave at 3:10 on Fridays, I remained until I
finished washing off the chalk pastel drawing. I completed this task as you requested by
on May 23, 1993.
This was an activity that we had done in the past,
without any complaints. I was maximizing
instructional time while the other students were painting the sign. Other teachers have been
on TV and in the newspaper for doing the same activity. Many students, teachers, and even
member commented on what a great job the kids did on the chalk pastel drawing. Dr.
a note regarding the school sign and said it looked great. At least a few positive things came
In summary I believe I was unfairly judged. I have
always tried my best to follow school
rules, and respect authority figures.
Schaid was coming back from lunch when he saw the chalk pastel drawings on the
in front of the school. He was concerned because one of the drawings was a large can with
"BEER" on it and underneath, the words "Purely root." He also saw a snake, not a dragon,
called the drawings "graffiti" and was concerned about how these drawings got there. His
him that Sarasin's third hour class was out in front that morning and created the drawings on
Schaid called Garfield, then the elementary principal, and asked Garfield to cover
class so that he could ask Sarasin about the drawings. Schaid then spoke with Sarasin and
that there was graffiti on the sidewalks, that it was not fair for the custodial staff to have to
it, that a weekend was coming up and graffiti would breed more graffiti or entice others to
more acts of vandalism. Sarasin told Schaid that he had his class out there, that part of
painted the school sign and the rest engaged in chalk pastel drawings. Schaid closed that
conversation and deliberated over the matter a little, then called Garfield back and asked him
Sarasin that he wanted the drawings removed before Sarasin left for home that evening.
Garfield thought Sarasin was scheduled to conclude his teaching assignments at 2:30
day. Schaid first called Garfield at 11:30 p.m. and called Garfield back at 1:40 p.m. Then
p.m., Sarasin called Schaid back and was angry and said that he could not remove the
because he taught until 3:00 p.m. Garfield may have been wrong about the time that class
Schaid wanted to deal with the matter right away because the labor contract says that
free to leave at 3:10 p.m. on Fridays (and certain other days).
Schaid asked him to make sure that the drawings were cleaned off before he departed
day, and Sarasin told him that if he wanted them removed, he should do it himself. At that
Schaid said -- "Are you refusing? Let me get my pad and pencil," because he was going to
this conversation. Schaid felt that Sarasin was being insubordinate and confrontational.
Sarasin testified that there was no snake in the drawing, just a green dragon. The
had already drawn a can with "BEER" on it and he told that them they had to get the alcohol
the beer. So they added "one hundred percent root." Sarasin said three board members rode
the drawing and congratulated him on it. He had done this project in the past, and no one
to it as graffiti.
Sarasin washed the chalk off after the buses left at 3:20, and it took him about 10 to
minutes to do this. It rained later that night.
Schaid's letter to Sarasin was written May 4, 1993, regarding the chalk incident:
This shall serve as a follow-up to our discussions
regarding the incident of April 23, 1993,
when you had several students do some chalk sketching on our sidewalks, and my request
have such removed prior to your dismissal on that day. We reviewed verbally on that day
for wanting the sketches removed and how we will proceed in the future for all out of
experiences. They are summarized as follows:
1) Ensure that all art activities remain congruent with
your weekly lesson plans and the Board
approved curricular Scope and Sequences for the Art Program.
2) Obtain advance approval from the Principal for all
activities planned outside of the
classroom, and for any project that will either temporarily or permanently alter the
etc., of our building and/or grounds.
However, even though you complied with my request of
you to remove the sketches prior to
your departure on that day, I am deeply concerned about the unprofessional disposition you
during the process of my making the said request of you. Both the tone and nature of your
contributions to our dialogue were confrontational and insubordinate. A review of your file
that this type of behavior has occurred on several occasions in the past.
We will no longer tolerate such behavior in the future.
Disagreements will naturally occur in
our business, but I expect such to be resolved in a professional manner. In addition, if an
administrative directive is to be given, it is to be adhered to without question.
Please be advised that such behavior in the future will
result in severe disciplinary actions to
be taken against you, including, but not limited to non-compensated suspension, dismissal, or
non-renewal of your contract.
Please review the following suggestions I have to assist
you in preventing such from occurring
1) When faced with a situation that
you feel is escalating to a point that may cause you to
react in an unprofessional manner, politely excuse yourself, if possible, to give you an
to compose yourself.
2) Review the attached copy of
"The Master Teacher", Volume 21, Number 12, entitled,
Professional Guidelines For Doing The Right Thing. The components and
techniques presented here
can apply to a variety of stressful situations in which you may find yourself.
3) Seek professional counseling to work on the
development of a more "emotionally
detached" state of being when engaged in situations you perceive as stressful.
Should you need further assistance
or have any questions, feel free to contact me at you
Schaid testified that his May 4, 1993, letter was a letter of warning because Sarasin
initially insubordinate to him by refusing to follow his direction, that it could be grieved, that
something is submitted to the personnel file, employees can grieve the fact that it's been
Schaid never told Sarasin that this was a disciplinary action. There is nothing in the
specifically states that it is a disciplinary action.
Schaid noted that on a couple of occasions, Sarasin was late for his class. Schaid
a memo on October 26, 1992, regarding supervision of class, and stated that he was expected
in the classroom by 7:50 a.m. each day. Sarasin was absent for the first four or five minutes
first period class on October 25, 1992. Schaid also stated in his memo that if an exigent
arose which would force Sarasin to leave or be tardy, he should elicit another staff member,
Schaid stated that Mrs. Hedrich, Mrs. Bartell or the office would be his most logical choices.
The above memo was not a disciplinary action. Despite the fact that Schaid
Sarasin that the office personnel would be a logical choice if he should have to be absent,
became unhappy when Sarasin used the office secretaries to monitor the class while he went
to the kiln which is located quite a distance from his classroom, up the stairs and down the
Schaid sent Sarasin another memo regarding class supervision on February 15, 1993, noting
asked secretaries to monitor his class for 15 minutes on one occasion, 10 minutes another
35 minutes another time. Schaid said that his prior memo referring to "exigent
sickness or emergencies. Schaid's memo stated that failure to rectify these shortcomings by
effective and consistent student supervision would result in disciplinary action taken against
Schaid testified that his secretarial staff complained that it was the third day in a row
had been asked by Sarasin to supervise his class while he attended to the kiln. Schaid felt
could have done his work in the kiln room before or after class periods. Schaid also thought
Sarasin should understand that by asking "the office" to supervise his class, he meant himself
or a staff
member, not a secretary. Schaid testified that the memo was not disciplinary in nature.
he thought he was following the rules, that he called the office and a secretary came down.
On February 19, 1993, Schaid sent a hand-written memo to Sarasin to say that he
concerned that Sarasin was 10 or 15 seconds late to his first hour class. Schaid had no
of whether Sarasin had already been in the building. The contractual day runs from 7:50
a.m. to 4:00
p.m. Sarasin recalled that he had to go to the bathroom.
The following incident refers to two situations -- one, where students are tardy, and
where a student injured another student. Sarasin and Schaid exchanged memos on this,
Schaid's memo on February 2, 1995:
As a follow-up to the conversation and discussion we had
on Wednesday, February 1, 1995,
we ask that you immediately take the necessary steps to adhere to the following expectations:
Tardiness -- All students who are tardy to class must be intervened with by you.
The system that has been established by our staff is as follows:
a. First Tardy = Warning
b. Second Tardy =
c. Third & Subsequent Tardies
= Office Referral to Discipline System
You must be sure that you effectively monitor your
classroom on a consistent basis. Having
a parent relay to me that his/her student has suggested that it is easy for a student to sneak
classroom unnoticed is of great concern. Although you have told me you doubt that this has
occurred, we must realize that if indeed this is a reality you would not be in adherence to
of Education Policy (532.33, Responsibility of Teachers), and Administrative Expectations
Classroom Environment, 2.) as listed in your Faculty Handbook.
a. Close your classroom door after class begins. It
would be hard for a student to enter your
classroom unnoticed if he/she needs to open your classroom door.
b. Do a visual scan of your classroom at
regular intervals, especially when you are working
1 on 1 with a student. Check the class count and compare to the initial count at the start of
Remember who was marked absent at the start of class and take note if that person is in
2. Classroom Behavior -- The fact that you
had a student who was injured yesterday due to
another student throwing an object in class causing the injured student to have to receive 5
to the head and when questioned about the incident you indicated you never saw it occur, nor
you done anything to intervene with the student who threw the object that caused the injury
great concern to us. You are responsible for the safety and well being of the students in
and must take every precaution and proactive intervention possible to assure that your
environment is conducive to such. This is an expectation of Board of Education policy
Responsibility of Teachers).
Suggestion (b.) above would be in order here for
improvement. Also, be sure students are
well instructed in the safety precautions for your teaching area (walking, no throwing
glasses, etc.) as well as the normal school expectations for deportment (keep hands to self,
fighting/violence, etc.) as found in the Student Handbook.
Failure to adhere to the above, Randy, will result in
further and more severe disciplinary
actions to include non-compensated suspension, dismissal, and/or non-renewal of your
Should you have any questions or be in need of further assistance, please do not hesitate to
me at your earliest convenience.
Sarasin responded with a letter to Schaid on February 8, 1995:
You make this incident appear that I lack care and
concern for the safety of my students. This
is totally untrue. I realize that I am responsible for the safety and well being of all my
believe I do take precautions to assure a safe classroom environment. In my opinion I did
act in a
responsible manner in reference to the accident that occurred on February 1, 1995. Details
happened that day are as follows:
1. I was in my 4th hour art class, visually looking at
another student's art work and helping
him evaluate some of the problems he was experiencing. Out of nowhere, an odd noise
I looked up and discovered Grant had an injury to his head.
2. I immediately called the office. I stated that I had a
medical emergency and that the
student was bleeding from the head. I assisted Grant with his injury. I also found out that
been injured to his head by a roller brush which Mike had thrown. Mike and Grant have
friendly toward each other and this was abnormal behavior for them.
3. After waiting five to ten minutes, no help appeared.
I then removed all students from my
classroom to the hallway and accompanied Grant to the office. At that point you and Mr.
over. I returned to my classroom.
4. I started to investigate this incident
further. I talked to Mike, the student who did the
throwing. He was remorseful for his actions. You buzzed my room and asked me to see
my noon hour. I spoke to you briefly during my lunch period. I explained to you that I did
actually see Mike throw the brush/roller because my eyes were focused down on another
art work. I told you I wanted to investigate this further and I would get back to you. I
to Mike and Grant during my noon hour. I talked with Mike on how very inappropriate his
were and how this was a very poor way to vent frustration. Basically what happened was
an eighteen-year-old senior, was frustrated because his painting wasn't coming together as
well as he
anticipated. Out of frustration, he threw his brush roller and Grant was accidentally hit in
I do not believe that I am at fault for Mike's actions. For the record, I had worked with
five minutes prior to the incident occurring. Mike gave no indication that he was going to
something. I am not a mind reader; I had no way of knowing what Mike was thinking. I
worked with Mike the past four years, and this action is unlike his character. Hopefully this
will be a learning experience for Mike's future. As unfortunately as it was, I have a 12:30
class and I had to quickly get to the elementary school.
5. At 2:50 I returned from my elementary classes to the high
school. I again counseled Mike on
his inappropriate behavior and checked to make sure Grant was still doing okay. I went to
office and told you everything I knew about the accident. I also filled out an accident form.
attended the staff meeting held after school. In the morning I talked to Steve Stuebbe and
if there was anything formal I had to fill out for him. He told me no, and that he had
for one day.
Again I believe I acted in a
Schaid stated that Sarasin continued to leave his classroom door open until two years
March of 1997, after he had been issued a letter of non-renewal. Other teachers often leave
doors open. Regarding the injured student, Schaid testified that Sarasin was so indifferent
classroom management that it creates an atmosphere conducive to these types of situations
with students being injured. Schaid also stated that the failure to discipline the student who
the roller sent a message to other students about the laxness in the classroom. Schaid stated
Sarasin missed the point in his response -- the point being that Schaid wanted Sarasin to
ship and be fair and consistent with students. Schaid sent a memo back to Sarasin on
1995, noting the receipt of his response and that he expected Sarasin to take steps to adhere
expectations identified regarding classroom tardiness and behavior. On February 15, 1997,
sent Sarasin a memo stating that from his perception, the issue was not that Sarasin lacked
concern for the safety of his students, but that his classroom management skills allowed the
associated with this incident to take place in his room.
Schaid testified that the February 2, 1995, memo was discipline, that it called his
rules and regulations and asked him to adhere to them.
On February 9, 1995, Schaid sent Sarasin a memo in response to a complaint by
teacher that exhaust fumes from the kiln were coming in her classroom, which is adjacent to
room. Schaid went to investigate and found students using the kiln unsupervised. Schaid
Sarasin about the kiln's exhaust system, and Sarasin told him it was not operating properly.
told him the that he should fill out a form for maintenance service. Schaid's memo states
that the kiln
is to be used only by Sarasin or under his supervision, the exhaust system is to be on, and
for maintenance services are to be reported to him. The kiln was probably not on when
students using it -- they were just putting pottery on shelves or taking pottery off shelves.
Due to the
location of the kiln, up one floor from the art room, Sarasin said he could not watch students
places. Loading the kiln is part of the curriculum. He also has a dark room and the entire
cannot fit in it.
Later that month, on February 22, 1995, Schaid sent Sarasin another memo stating
saw three students working with the kiln without a pass from Sarasin and without his direct
supervision, in contradiction to his prior memo. Schaid reminded Sarasin that students have
passes at all times when traveling during instructional periods and the kiln is to be used only
or under his supervision. Schaid stated in his memo that he knew Sarasin was very
last minute details for an upcoming conference art show, which involved eight schools where
submit work to be judged. The memo included language that failure to adhere to
result in further and more severe disciplinary action.
Schaid considered the above memo to be a warning, due to the language in the next
paragraph about failure to adhere to expectations would result in more severe disciplinary
Sarasin responded with a memo dated February 28, 1995, in which he informed Schaid that
was not being operated, but that it was warm from the night before and students were
take a project there and leave it there to dry. Sarasin also stated that Bergman let the
the room because it was locked, and that the students were supposed to do this during a
period, that the task should have taken no longer than returning a book to the library and was
more dangerous than that. Sarasin asked the technical education teacher to make some
passes to use when going to the kiln room.
Schaid said that Bergman's presence in the area was not adequate supervision, that
not have time to worry about other students entering her room to use the kiln, that she would
had no knowledge that these students were coming to her for her supervision. He noted that
in another room when he saw the students in the kiln room. Schaid sent a memo to Sarasin
1, 1995, acknowledging his response and stating that he wanted to see steps taken to adhere
expectations identified regarding the use of the kiln and student hall passes. He felt that
missed the point of his prior memo by not addressing the fact that students were left
without a pass. Schaid never saw any problems with students using the kiln after this.
he sent the students to put pottery in the kiln room during their passing time, leaving his
some class period time left.
On December 13, 1995, Schaid sent Sarasin a memo noting that John Johnson was
out of his
classroom without a pass or permission, that students were generally off task, reading
talking. He reminded Sarasin to issue hall passes and maximize every available instruction
stating: "...students are to be on task throughout the entire 51 minute period." His memo
Sarasin to rectify those shortcomings. Schaid had found the student in the hall without a pass
escorted him back to Sarasin's classroom. Sarasin said that John Johnson was coming from
hadn't been to the art room yet when Schaid saw him, so Sarasin could not have given him a
He also said that Schaid would not know when art students were on or off task. Sarasin
a task to look at pictures in magazines for certain material.
On January 9, 1996, Schaid observed Sarasin arriving late by one minute to his first
and wrote him a memo about it. He told him that he should be in the classroom well ahead
students and the 8:00 a.m. start time, and that he arrived at 8:01 a.m. Sarasin could not
recall on this
instance whether he had been in the bathroom, in the kiln room or the library.
On July 27, 1993, Schaid sent Sarasin a memo regarding the conditions of his
asked that Sarasin address his concerns regarding general disorderliness. Schaid described
disorderliness as the storage room, photography darkroom cupboards, counters and shelves
as the classroom itself being disorganized and cluttered. He objected to the way equipment
supplies were organized. He also noted damage and excessive wear -- such as marks,
grime, paint -- found on the walls, floor, shelves, counters and sinks.
Sarasin sent a response on September 7, 1993, pointing out that the middle school
elementary school rooms are different, newer and not used with the same depth of programs
materials or equipment. He noted that there would be wet ongoing projects sitting around,
did not consider them clutter. Sarasin also stated in his letter that the MacNeil
advised them not to have students sweep the art room floors when working with clay,
could cause a disease known as silicosis. He closed by saying that he would try to be more
but did not want a sterile, unproductive classroom.
By October 7, 1993, Schaid acknowledged that improvement had been made. He and
had a discussion about daily house cleaning efforts by students and the teacher. On January
Schaid sent a memo to Sarasin stating that "it was reported" that the art room had not been
appropriately cleaned up after student use each day, and that it was expected that the students
spend the last few moments of each class period to clean and organize the art room. This
copied to Wally Mittag, the Director of Buildings and Grounds.
The two letters and one memo from Schaid regarding cleanliness and classroom
were not disciplinary but were part of the total record considered by the Board in its decision
renew Sarasin's contract.
Similar letters regarding cleanliness and housekeeping were issued to the head of the
department at the high school, the agricultural education instruction, and the head of the
education department. Schaid had made building orderliness and maintenance one of his
goals for the 1993-94 school year.
On January 30, 1995, Schaid sent a handwritten memo to Sarasin that noted that it
reported that the art room had not been appropriately cleaned up after student use recently,
it was expected that he have students spend the last few moments of each period to clean and
organize the room. Mittag was again copied on the memo. When asked whether this memo
disciplinary, Schaid testified that it was "borderline disciplinary."
Students may be used to help clean up their work during the end of the class period,
is considered part of the lesson in laboratory type classes. Sarasin testified that he frequently
the floors himself, that the custodial staff did not wet mop the floors except on rare
as Easter and Christmas breaks. Sarasin noted that sometimes the technical school left
when it used his classroom for refinishing old furniture.
Schaid was aware that the custodians were not mopping the art room on a regular
The Sparex Incident
This incident is unusual -- it appears as if the District held Sarasin responsible for an
that happened when he was not there and a substitute teacher was in charge of his
January 31, 1996, memo to Sarasin states:
On Friday, January 19, 1996, a day on which you were
absent due to illness, a student in your
third period class used a chemical solution which had been placed in a secondary container,
to rinse a piece of jewelry on which she was working. A vapor emitted itself from the
was inadvertently inhaled by the student, causing an irritation to her mouth, nose, and eyes.
not find an appropriate label on this secondary container, making it impossible for us to
solution and its MSDS so that proper medical attention could be obtained for the student.
A review of our records indicate that you attended a
training session conducted by MacNeil
Environmental, Inc., on March 6, 1995. Included in that training session was the process
are to use for labeling potentially hazardous materials when transferred to a secondary
At our conference regarding this matter which was held
on January 30, 1996, you informed
me that this secondary container did have the appropriate labels on it, however, the chemical
solution (Sparex No. 2) transferred to it destroyed the label. Therefore, you scratched the
the product into the underside of the secondary container. You also showed me the product
should purchase that is made for use with this product, i.e., an "Electric Pickler," as it could
permanently labeled without fear of damage by the chemical solution. You informed me that
thought about requisitioning for this container after the 1995/96 requisition process had been
completed and submitted.
A review of the MSDS for the chemical
solution, Sparex No. 2, which you provided me
indicates some safety items which are to be worn when using the product. The items are a)
protective rubber or plastic gloves; b) use of appropriate eye protection such as safety
goggles or a
full face shield; c) assurances that clothing completely covers skin to avoid contact or the use
shop coat/smock that provides this protection; and d) the provision of forced draft ventilation
use of a gas mask. I am concerned because I do not see these items as being used as the
requires. This raises the question as to how many other products are being used by students
Art Studio not in accordance with the requirements of the MSDS for each product.
Therefore, I am expecting you to take necessary steps to
meet the following expectations
1) Cease all use of the product, Sparex No. 2, until the
safety items identified on its MSDS
(paragraph 4 above) are acquired. Additionally, use of this product is not to occur until an
Pickler" has been acquired and appropriately labeled as per the labeling requirements
you in the training session you attended in March, 1995.
2) Assure that all products transferred to secondary
containers are appropriately labeled as
per the labeling requirements identified for you in the training session you attended in
3) Research and review all MSDS's for products used in
the Art Studio and take the
appropriate measures to assure that all safety and emergency response items identified for
product are acquired and/or in place and/or in use in accordance with each MSDS for each
Cessation of use of each product is to occur until this expectation has been completed.
4) Research and review the MSDS's for all newly
acquired products in the future to assure
that all safety and emergency response items identified for each product are acquired and/or
and/or in use prior to any use of any such product.
Failure to adhere to these expectations, Randy, both now
and in the future puts yourself and
the school district in legal jeopardy, and will result in disciplinary action to be taken against
including, but not limited to, non-compensated suspension, dismissal, or non-renewal of your
employment contract. Should you have any questions, or be in need of assistance in meeting
expectations, please contact me immediately.
MSDS refers to material safety data sheet, dealing with the handling and use of
substances. Classrooms using such substances are to maintain a three-ring binder containing
sheets, and in the event of an injury, the sheet tells what medical treatment is needed. While
MSDS sheets were in the classroom, the substitute teacher could not identify the chemical
student was using. The substitute teacher was certified to teach, although not certified in art
not trained about hazardous substances. The student was not using any protective or safety
such as goggles, a full face shield, a shop coat or a gas mask. There were no gas masks
students. Schaid testified that the student should not have been using the chemical under the
During the incident described above, the elementary art teacher (Sarasin's wife)
at home, and the two of them were able to determine that the product was Sparex No. 2. No
looked at the bottom of the container where Sarasin had scratched the name. Schaid did not
when the product was purchased but assumed that Sarasin had requisitioned it.
Sarasin had left lesson plans for the substitute teacher, and the substitute teacher
have been making jewelry or near the pickling compound. He noted that a gas mask would
out these fumes, and there is no forced draft ventilation in the art room because it is
surrounded. Sarasin had raised the ventilation issue earlier with the administration because
to teach silk screen but it needed ventilation.
Schaid testified that the letter he sent to Sarasin was discipline.
Testimony of Students
Several of Sarasin's former students testified at the hearing -- John Austin, Timothy
Jesse Schuknecht, Sharon Hephner, Tracy Christopherson, Melissa Meyer and Elijah Shaver.
John Austin is now a freshman in college majoring in industrial design. He took
four years from Sarasin, and got a merit award for a drawing in a regional art show. During
year in high school, the 1996-97 school year, Schaid called him to the office and asked him
told a joke in class. Austin had heard the joke but on a ski trip, not in class. Austin
testified that he
never heard any comments regarding sexual connotations or inferences in Sarasin's class or
Sarasin tell lewd, vulgar or sexual jokes. He did not see any inappropriate discipline of
hear Sarasin use swear words, except "hell" once in a while. Austin had seen students sneak
Sarasin's classes well as other classes. He also heard other teachers, including teachers in
physical education, use swear words. Sarasin was instrumental in getting Austin into the
Timothy Schomer is also a college freshman who took art from Sarasin for four years
school. His major is graphic design and Sarasin played a big part in his choice of art as a
Schomer called the classroom atmosphere in Sarasin's room as being very loose, similar to a
art classroom where one is given a project and works on it with a teacher there for guidance.
also asked by Schaid if Sarasin told any dirty jokes, and he said no. He never heard Sarasin
or sexual jokes or make sexual comments or fail to supervise students. He had heard Sarasin
and heard other teachers and coaches use swear words. He had also seen students sneak out
classes, including Sarasin's classes.
Jesse Schuknecht is majoring in theater in college and took art classes with Sarasin in
elementary and high school. Schuknecht received about four awards for his work at the
art shows. He stated that he never heard Sarasin use inappropriate sexual references, tell
jokes, or use inappropriate disciplinary techniques with students. Sarasin's classes were not
as other classes, but Sarasin had rules about safety, especially with gas tanks or oxygen tanks
for jewelry and metal work. Students were required to wear safety goggles and gloves when
with the torches. Schuknecht had to wear goggles and keep a protective cover over a saw
was used as a rock cutter. He had heard Sarasin and other teachers and coaches swear in
seen other students sneak out of classes. His father also teaches at the District.
Sharon Hephner is now studying interior design at a technical college and took art
Sarasin for three years. She considered Sarasin to be one of her top teachers who helped
for college and her life in art. She stated that he helped prepare students for lab settings that
in college and related well to students, even though he often had some of the more difficult
She never hear Sarasin say anything offensive or use sexual connotations or innuendoes,
said that was not true of all her teachers. Hephner testified that labels were a big thing and
everything in Sarasin's classroom, even a bigger deal than where she works at a hardware
said that Sarasin used some minor swear words, but not as much as coaches. It was common
students to sneak out of gym class, she noted, or when people went to the library to study.
mother died during her senior year, Sarasin went to the wake, sent roses and said that she
said something sooner because he would have been there for her.
Tracy Christopherson is also studying at a technical college now, in computer
analysis. She took art from Sarasin for two years, including studio arts. When Sarasin
making pottery, she said, he referred to his hands as "the boys" and explained that they
work together to control the way the clay is developed, that they have to work as a team.
heard Sarasin refer to the outer layer of clay as silky, or feminine, and the harder part of
clay as being
masculine. She did not take offense at that or view it as being sexual. Christopherson got a
place medal for her teapot made of clay in the conference art show. She never heard Sarasin
inappropriate statements with a sexual content or use inappropriate disciplinary techniques.
heard Sarasin as well as other teachers use swear words, and she left art class, English class
class without a pass on occasion to go out and smoke. She stated that Sarasin emphasized
the room clean and labeling everything, and he would get upset if the room wasn't clean.
Sarasin was non-renewed, she was called to the office and Schaid asked her if Sarasin used
comments toward her or other students. She told him no. Christopherson wanted to do
about Sarasin's non-renewal and helped write up a petition that a couple of hundred students
along with some parents. She took it to a school board meeting and presented it there.
Melissa Meyer took art classes from Sarasin for two years. Like the other students,
heard Sarasin make sexual comments or use inappropriate disciplinary techniques with
recalled hearing "dumb blonde" jokes one year in school from both students and Sarasin, but
vulgar or sexual jokes. The only time that he failed to supervise the classroom, in her
when he went to the darkroom off the classroom for a short period of time. Photography
of the work in art class. Meyer stated that safety was a big issue with Sarasin. She
to be a mentor and regarded him highly as a teacher. She heard Sarasin and other teachers
including Fred Klaeser who had to apologize to his class about swearing and give a written
to three students for his outburst at them.
Elijah Shaver is in college and took art from Sarasin for four years. He learned
in Sarasin's classes and uses it in his summer work as a structural steel detailer working on a
(computer aided design) program. He took a ceramics class at UW-Madison and found that
experience in high school put him far ahead of other students in that class. Shaver testified
Sarasin's classroom was much cleaner than the pottery room at Madison. He never heard
make inappropriate sexual statements or use inappropriate discipline. Sarasin
glazes from their classroom because of the poisonous gases that can be emitted when heated,
educated the students on why not to use such leaded glazes for their own use outside of the
classroom. Also, Shaver noted that students mopped the classes and wiped down tables
just sweeping because the clay dust could be harmful to students' lungs. He said that Sarasin
him to use his keys during Shaver's sophomore year to get the gas blow torch or gas
out of the shop. However, that practice stopped and the entire class had to walk to the shop
bring the gas back with Sarasin unlocking the door. Sometimes Sarasin had the equipment
for the class when it arrived. Other teachers had given Shaver keys to unlock the library
while he was
working on the newspaper or to get audio visual materials. Coaches also loaned him keys a
of times. After Shaver was graduated from high school, he visited by checking in at the
a visitor's sticker, although he was visiting so often that he just signed the book after awhile.
once found him without a sticker and asked him to pick one up at the office.
Testimony of Other Teachers
Pamela Schuster is the kindergarten teacher in the District for 13 years. She has seen
coming into the school without permission from the office. Parents are supposed to sign in
office but some do not realize they need to sign in every time. Schuster stated that she often
not notice whether or not people have signed in. The school has bathroom and library
it just started to use telephone passes in the 1997-98 school year, but students have not
needed passes for every place they might go. Schuster took her kindergarten class to the art
for art because it had a linoleum floor. She always found it to be clean, and Sarasin was
cooperative and professional with her. She has told her kids not to run with scissors, that
poke out their eyes. Schuster has served as the Association president, vice-president and
in the past.
Scharleen Schmahl has taught in the District for 33 years, currently teaching fourth
Sarasin's room was across the hall from hers for five or six years. Schmahl has no door on
and since Sarasin's door was usually open, she could hear his class being conducted at times.
noted that the disciplinary system used for students in the elementary school is that for the
offense, the name goes on the board. A second offense gets a check mark up to three
then the student gets a detention. Schmahl stated that this is the system that is supposed to
in the elementary school and has been in effect for several years. The computer lab is next
Schmahl's room, and she will send students to work in the lab and walk back and forth
two rooms, which leaves students unsupervised at times. She also used the art room for kids
on a small newspaper and she was not always in there with them. She saw another teacher
to work in the art room while no certified teacher was present. She had not seen Sarasin
Brad Randall is the general and vocal music teacher in the District and has been there
years. His room is upstairs from Sarasin's, on the same level as the kiln room. He has seen
art students come upstairs and pass his classroom while going to the kiln room, usually
without Sarasin. He has sent students to the copy room or the office to run errands,
and also sent
students out to practice on their own. Randall had loaned keys out to students in the past but
told that such practices were not acceptable anymore. He was not sure whether he was given
formal reprimand or not, and did not file a grievance over it or believe that it was a
The drama teacher, Dee Gillig, worked on a musical with Randall, and she often asked
run up to her room and gave them the keys. Schaid took part in the musical, but Randall
Gillig stop that practice. Schaid said he talked with Gillig and told her not to do that but
she could continue to loan a key to the assistant director of the play. Randall said that
frequently gave keys to students, and he described the practice as so common that he could
anyone who had not done it. When he told others that he had been reprimanded for it,
surprised. He has also sent students out of class without passes, but in the last couple of
made an effort to change that because he is aware that it "rankles" Schaid. The District has
up on visitors in the last couple of years, also, and many of Randall's former students come
see him. He was told that if someone showed up without a sticker or patch, he should make
person checks with the office. Schaid told Randall to make sure that someone in his
checked out of the office, but he did not know if Schaid made a note of that for his own
testified that he never saw Sarasin being insubordinate; instead, he clearly heard Sarasin tell
"Tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it. If you tell me to do this, it will be done."
believes that statement was made a couple of years ago when Sarasin was reprimanded for
inappropriate jokes. Randall had not seen Sarasin act unprofessionally with his colleagues or
lewd, vulgar or sexual jokes to his students.
Randall has been disciplined in the past. He recalled an issue of the use of his sick
1992 and believes he got a written reprimand for that. Also in 1992, he was giving lessons
classes, starting about 7:30 a.m. There were times he would not get to the middle school by
a.m. He never got there past 8:00 a.m., when classes started, but got there at 7:55 a.m. and
reprimanded for not being at the site by 7:50 a.m. Randall grieved the reprimand but it
stayed in his
file. In April of 1996, he got in trouble for putting a colleague in a difficult position over
tour. Students going on trips had to be passing all their classes at the time of the trip. Some
were concerned that they had paid for the trip but might not be able to go when it came for
of the trip. So they asked teachers what they could do to be passing. Randall received a
reprimand about that. Randall got into trouble following a trip to New York -- when they
there wasn't enough money to pay for all the expenses because he had not charged students
There is a rule that the trip should be paid in advance, and he was disciplined for it. He also
grievance in 1994 after an incident where a student tripped on a step and damaged a tooth.
of the grievance was that part of it was dismissed. Randall did not recall getting a reprimand
having students on task all the time, but he recalled the issue in 1993 where the goal was to
many minutes of the class period as possible. He considered it a very high goal and did not
anyone could achieve that. He had observed students standing in the doorway waiting for the
in other classrooms. He recalled getting a reprimand for canceling a lesson with student.
been called away when the student stopped and she left a note, which was seen by Schaid
reprimanded him before talking to him about it. Some teachers have called Schaid's style for
observing them "snoopervision," and Schaid is aware of it. Randall has been involved with
for other faculty members over disciplinary issues.
Dale Voskuil is the physics and math teacher at the District and been there 30 years.
the grievance chair when Sarasin was disciplined for telling sexual jokes, and he recalled that
meeting on the issue, he told Sarasin to just cut it out. He never heard of anything that
wrong after that, as far as making any lewd, vulgar or sexual comments or jokes. Voskuil
keys to a student last year and noted that when he was a coach, it happened all the time. He
that it is not possible to having meaningful, on-task instruction for every minute in a lab
the teacher has to divert his attention away and trust the students to work. When students
their work before the end of a class period, he tries to give them something to do, but he
it is just not possible to monitor them all at the same time. Schaid mentioned to him once
that he had
finished about five or six minutes early and kids were sitting around talking. Voskuil has
students out of the class on specific projects without adults, because he was able to trust them
what was asked of them. He tries to make judgments about the students when deciding
disrupt his own dialogue and give them passes or not. The school started using pass books
1997-98 school year, and a teacher can just quickly initial a pass now.
Voskuil swore at a student one time when he took students out to the fairgrounds to
off rockets, and one of them put firecrackers in a rocket. He told him it was a "dumb ass
do," and he meant it at the time but probably would not have said that if he reflected on it.
He has had
former students visit without a pass and does not want to discourage visitors, since it's a
to a teacher when a former student visits. Voskuil said he had never been reprimanded,
had probably violated lots of rules.
David Vande Voort is a technical education teacher in Sheboygan and was formerly a
at Chilton. He left the District in 1995 after 22 years, after a situation in May of 1995
referred to technical education as a glorified birdhouse building program. Vande Voort took
to that and interviewed with the Sheboygan schools and took a position there. Another
Mr. Shefcheck, also left and went to Luxemburg-Casco. Vande Voort stated that he loaned
students while he was a basketball coach, and sometimes in class to have a student get
materials. He admitted that he had sworn at students, reacting to something they had done
machinery that was irresponsible. He also had students injured in class, but was not
it. He noted that it was not possible to watch all students when assisting one student with a
Students have different abilities and some finish projects ahead of others, and Vande Voort
fill the time at the end of class when some were done early. Custodians were assigned to
area and sweep up sawdust. Vande Voort never used a MSDS label. A custodian told him
glue they used should have a label on it and be in a different container. He stated that he
and former students stop by without visitor stickers, and that the real impetus for visitors'
in the last year that he taught at Chilton.
Susan Kleinhans was the elementary physical education teacher in the District but is
working now. She left the District about March of 1993 for surgery and is permanently
teachers' workroom was next to Sarasin's art room, and Kleinhans was very impressed with
saw in his class. She stated that the children really loved him, and she felt he had a real gift
with young children. She said that one has to think hard when talking to children and use
language for different ages, being careful to pare it down. Kleinhans wanted everyone
quiet at times, so she would have the students put the balls they were using, whether
basketballs or any equipment, between their feet. The boys would start giggling when she
your balls on the floor," or "Put your balls between your feet". She ignored the giggling
it would die down before the class got out of control. She often loaned keys to students if
equipment out of a locked room or was on the field with children and needed something from
building. Since students often worked in groups, there was no way she could keep an eye on
student in a gymnasium or out on a soccer field or fitness course, she noted. There were
and injuries while she was teaching, although she was not disciplined for them. While
not use swear words while coaching varsity sports, she heard other teachers and coaches
time, she buzzed the office when a parent refused to get a visitor's pass, but no one from the
Clarence Scherer, now self-employed, worked for the District teaching technical
for 27 years. He resigned in 1994 after being given an ultimatum to resign or go before the
a non-renewal. He had physically grabbed some students who reported it to the office.
given classroom management techniques to follow, and Schaid called him in a week or two
asked how it was going. Scherer loaned keys to students to unlock the area where acetylene
were kept. He recalled that his shop rooms were cleaned by custodians, usually every night,
though students cleaned them after classes. He received a letter from Schaid about keeping
rooms clean. Scherer stated that it was not possible to keep an eye on students at all times,
he had discussions with Schaid about that. He had students injured in class but was not
John Zagrodnik taught social studies for 27 years and left the District in 1993. He
that DeMaster took some students out his class one time because they had finished a test and
heads down. He was working at his desk and didn't know they were gone. Later Schaid
into the office and asked him if he allowed people to sleep in his classroom. He replied no,
Schaid accepted his explanation. He loaned keys to students when he coached baseball, and
happen often on the football field.
Linda Rohrer is the art teacher at New Holstein High School, a nearby school that
in the conference art show. She has been there eight years and knows Sarasin from the art
stated that she was jealous of his students' work in the display, that it probably exceeded
would see in most colleges. Chilton usually walked away with the majority of awards. She
Sarasin's room once, and it looked much like other art rooms. She said that she was happy
don't throw clay at the walls, and she acknowledged that it is hard to keep the room clean
creative and letting students work with clay and paint. When Rohrer studied pottery in
was clay spattered on the walls, on the floors and on the people. The custodians rarely mop
classroom. She used to work with jewelry and has a pickler or acid in the room labeled acid
does not have a label that says "hazardous material" on it. It has the original label on it. She
once it is mixed with water, it could have offensive fumes but not unless you held it right up
face. Her kiln is located in a room next to her classroom, and she takes a few students in
there at a
time to explain how to load the kiln or take things out. No one is watching her students in
classroom when she does that. Rohrer stated that she had heard others refer to
clay as having a male and female part, and she has not used those terms, but whether it
appropriate would depend on the students. She noted that in centering clay, one works it
into a cone
shape if the object is to be tall, one brings it up until it gets tall and then squashes it back
brings it up again. It depends on the amount of clay one is using because all projects are
the same way.
James Skarda was the high school principal for 20 years until 1990 and knew Sarasin
He supervised him, going to this classroom without first informing him. He never heard or
Sarasin using inappropriate statements with sexual content or using inappropriate disciplinary
techniques. He had never seen volatile substances stored or handled inappropriately in
classroom. In a formal evaluation that Skarda made of Sarasin in 1994, he noted that he was
extremely pleased with the physical appearance of the art area since Sarasin's arrival. He
Sarasin to be vitally interested in his field, talented and in complete charge of the classroom.
never noticed any eccentric behavior from Sarasin, although he thought that artists by their
not march much in step in everything in life. Skarda's grandson took art from Sarasin and
in art in college.
Frederick Klaeser is an English teacher and has been at the District for 25 years. He
sons who all took art from Sarasin. His sons never told him that Sarasin had made any
with a sexual connotation or innuendo. Klaeser received a letter from the assistant principal
Charles Schuknecht, regarding swearing at a student. Klaeser did not recall an incident in
led to Skarda writing a letter to him about swearing in class. Skarda noted that Klaeser was
through an extremely difficult time in his personal life, but they counseled and worked with
he turned out to be an extremely fine teacher. He was not non-renewed. Klaeser was given
of disciplinary suspension on March 30, 1995, for excessive physical force with a student.
recalled that in the 1995-96 school year, he had several incidents, one involving the use of
words. He got upset when some students were talking in the back of the room and said,
hell is going on back there?" Schaid called him in and Klaeser apologized to the class.
year, there were two incidents involving profanity and Schaid wrote him a letter saying that
going to suspend Klaeser. Klaeser asked him for a little more compassionate approach, such
seeking anger management. Klaeser received counseling over the summer of 1996 and was
for an explosive disorder and medication was prescribed. The suspension was not imposed.
occasion, Klaeser was teaching Greek mythology and talking about cultures that were driven
magic, where a virgin would be thrown into a volcano to stop its eruption. He made a joke
five-virgin volcano, like something on the Richter scale. Schaid cautioned him about such a
reference. There was also a prior suspension but Klaeser was permitted to work that day.
has also given Klaeser positive evaluations for his teaching.
Klaeser has served as a grievance chairman from time to time. Klaeser and Schaid
over an incident at a faculty meeting when Klaeser raised a question about what a teacher
receive for being the teacher on a television program. Schaid called Klaeser into his office
him that he was grandstanding a union issue at a faculty meeting, and that he could lead,
seek employment elsewhere. Klaeser objected to having a former student, Elijah Shaver, in
hallway when he visited his girlfriend without a visitor's pass and brought it to the attention
the vice-principal. He didn't know if any action was taken about that. Schaid testified
that he asked
Shaver to follow the visitor's procedure by signing in and out at the office, but Shaver was
to come in and out without a sticker. Schaid was not aware of Klaeser's concern, and
not have known that Shaver was allowed to be in the building without a sticker. Schaid
emphasis in faculty meetings on the teachers making sure that visitors had passes.
Charles Schuknecht has taught social studies, history, government and economics at
for 33 years. In addition to his son Jesse who testified at the hearing, he has three other
also had taken art from Sarasin. Both his twin sons were graduated from college with art
Sarasin stayed in contact with them through their college years with phone calls,
their visits to his classroom. One son invited Sarasin to his senior show at UW-Milwaukee.
of his children reported hearing Sarasin use inappropriate language or inappropriate
techniques. Schuknecht never heard that Sarasin told lewd, vulgar or sexual jokes or make
vulgar or sexual comments. Schuknecht coached for 30 years, used some minor swear
and heard others use swear words on occasion. In 1993, he received a memo from Schaid
a student sleeping in study hall and asked him to intervene or correct it.
Testimony of Parents
Carol Austin, whose son John testified in this hearing, also had a daughter, Jessica,
Sarasin for a teacher. Neither of her children ever complained about any inappropriate
conduct or methods that Sarasin used. She stated that her son struggled a lot through school,
dyslexia, and got discouraged because of his grades and thought he would not be successful
in his life.
She said that Sarasin supported him and told him he was very talented, that he would be very
successful, that he had to apply himself in art and other classes. The guidance counselor was
supportive about John going on to school, but Sarasin supported him and wrote a nice letter.
teacher, Charles Schuknecht, also wrote a supportive letter on John's behalf.
Patricia Gash has two children that took art from Sarasin. She also substituted for
handicapped aides and worked in Sarasin's classroom. She helped Sarasin with a field trip
ago when they went to the art museum in Milwaukee. One of Sarasin's former students,
Barany, gave them a tour and the students were on their own. She said that every time she
around a corner, she saw Sarasin with a group of kids. She was impressed with how much
students appreciated the field trip and how they talked about a photo exhibit of AIDS
stated that she also visited Sarasin's room on occasion. She never heard Sarasin make
statements, tell lewd, vulgar or sexual jokes, or use inappropriate discipline with students.
that Sarasin's class was informal, that the students and Sarasin told jokes, but not sexual
Deborah Reinhart has three children in the District, one of whom is Ian Reinhart
took art from Sarasin, and Reinhart frequently visited to look at the art work or see what was
happening in class. She said she scooted in the back door, not realizing that it would get
trouble. She never saw or heard Sarasin use inappropriate sexual comments, tell sexual
jokes or use
inappropriate discipline with students. She stated that her son Ian was gifted and very
but labeled with attention deficit disorder in third grade. During his junior year in
high school, one
of his best friends committed suicide, and Ian was quite depressed and hospitalized by
his senior year. Reinhart spoke with Schaid because she was concerned that there had been
teenage suicides in school, but she felt she got no support. Ian had missed a week of school
in an accelerated academic track, and he was struggling to get his school work done.
Sarasin was one of three teachers who reached out to Ian, visited him in the hospital and
supportive and made themselves available to him. She said that Sarasin tried to help Ian
focus on his
work, tried to accommodate his illness and help him stay up to speed with his classroom
She stated that Sarasin is one of the reasons her son is alive and blossoming today. He is
now a junior
in engineering school, an honor student. Reinhart knew that there was a community-wide
prevention coalition, but did not personally know whether or not Schaid organized it.
Schaid stated in his testimony that Sarasin would not conform to the policies,
rules, and regulations of the Board or the District, that his conduct was willful, and that he
to find new ways to willfully disregard or violate the policies, procedures, rules or
regulations, or that
he had a willful disobedience to adhere to expectations. Sarasin did not repeat the behaviors
which he was disciplined or corrected, although Schaid views Sarasin's actions as often being
insubordinate to his directions.
Most of the evaluations in Sarasin's file were done by Garfield. Schaid evaluated
Appel once or twice. Teachers are supposed to be evaluated once every three years.
evaluations were generally positive, with only minor concerns raised by the administrators.
Sarasin was given an award by the FFA Alumni as the outstanding teacher of the year.
DeMaster sent him congratulatory notes on the award. Sarasin did not recall if Schaid sent
Several of Sarasin's former students have gone on to study and work in the art world.
Barany (Skarda's grandson) was getting a masters in fine arts at UW-M and was quoted in an
to say that he gave direct credit for his work to his high school teacher, Randy Sarasin, who
the door for him and was an inspiration to many who went into art as a career. Some of his
now teach art, some are commercial and computer artists, some are designers. Sarasin stays
regular contact with many of his former students.
In regard to the discipline of other teachers, Schaid testified that one teacher was
for ten days without pay after kicking a student in the groin and causing damage to his
was a second or third incident of inappropriately disciplining a student. The teacher agreed
instead of face a non-renewal action, and the parties agreed that if any further assaults took
would be immediately dismissed. Another teacher received a one-day suspension which was
abeyance while that teacher got counseling, after showing an inability to cope with students.
teacher was suspended for one day for physically touching a student. Another teacher who
suspended once or twice for being physically aggressive with students and verbally abuse
colleagues also resigned after the District started a non-renewal action.
The District's records include other disciplinary actions or letters of correction to other
In 1991, Schaid sent a letter to Todd Zuberbier following a conference about physical
abusive language, and escalations in temperament in serving as a gymnastics coach. Schaid
considered the letter to be a disciplinary notice, although the letter does not contain any
that Zuberbier is being disciplined. The letter contained a statement that the District values
person's service and "would hate to see anything stand in the way of your continued
On February 14, 1992, Schaid sent a letter to Jim Ronk, a basketball coach, about language
and temperament when dealing with students. Schaid considered this to be a disciplinary
the letter contained the same language regarding the value of his service and hating to see
standing in the way of his future employment. Neither Zuberbier nor Ronk were faculty
were community people filling coaching slots.
On August 26, 1993, Schaid sent a letter to Ray Mlada about missing a staff meeting
students having open sodas in class. Schaid did not consider this to be discipline, but that it
raising an expectation, what he called "first level of discipline." On December 4, 1995,
Mlada another memo regarding choices of language and loosing his cool, breaking a
memo noted that the issue had been addressed in the past and further problems will result in
disciplinary action. Schaid considered the 1995 memo to be discipline. On December 18,
Schaid sent another memo to Mlada, this time for giving a security pass code to another
for contacting him late when he was sick. Schaid also considered this memo to be discipline.
On January 5, 1995, Schaid send a letter to Dale Forstner, a basketball coach, about
of his language and his discipline and motivational techniques. The letter included a
non-adherence to expectations may lead to the discontinuation of his employment with the
Schaid considered the letter to be disciplinary. Forstner was not a faculty member.
On March 24, 1995, Schaid sent three physical education teachers a memo about
without passes or permission. He was concerned that people were using the gym without
authorization or following procedures. He did not consider his memo to be disciplinary, but
was meant to raise the expectations of teachers, a cautionary memorandum. He also stated
he has to reduce something to writing, it moves up on the scale of leading to more severe
On April 21, 1995, Schaid send a memo to Dawn Doll after he observed her
past sexual activities. His memo referred to the professional line between teachers and
asked her to review a portion of the faculty handbook. He considered this memo to be
a warning -- although it contains no language to that effect. Schaid testified that the person
it would know that it was discipline because it was reduced to writing, but added that
was reduced to writing was not necessarily discipline.
The District's computer coordinator, Paul Schwartz, testified that he had been in
classroom many times because of problems with the computer. He said that students had
on the hard drives, deleted programs, renamed programs, and played havoc with the
Sarasin told Schwartz that Ian Geiser had given him software, and Sarasin asked
Schwartz to set
the programs up and configure them. Schwartz told Sarasin that no outside entity
should use the
District's computers in order to maintain the system's integrity. Sarasin's computer is not
to the District's network. Schwartz is also a tennis coach, and testified that during a match
of 1997, John Austin and Tim Schomer were seated next to him on the bus traveling to
Falls. Schwartz testified that Austin and Schomer were upset that Sarasin was non-renewed,
they thought he was getting a raw deal, and that they liked him because he told jokes,
students, and was a great guy to hang around with. Schwartz stated that the students said
Sarasin made a reference in class about the size of his wife's breasts.
Schwartz also testified that Sarasin told him students had made offers to dispose of
or to have him shot, and Schwartz told the principals about that comment. Police
matter, and Sarasin provided the names of the students to his Association representative who
the names to the police.
At the conference with the Board over the non-renewal, Schaid presented a list of 29
incidents, some with exhibits that were previously noted in the above sections, some were
third and fifth incidents referred to lesson plans not submitted on time, but the record does
when they were submitted. Schaid submitted to the Board certain exhibits in which he sent
a letter but did not include Sarasin's response. Schaid testified that Sarasin had success with
in his art program, but he did not discuss Sarasin's evaluations or classroom performance,
supervisory problems, with the Board.
The Board's letter dated February 24, 1997, advising him that the full membership of
Board decided not to renew his employment contract, states that the decision was based on
following 14 reasons:
(1) Inappropriate statements made to students in class,
having sexual connotations and
(2) Use of inappropriate
disciplinary technique and measures with regard to students.
(3) Non-compliance with hazard
and safety protection procedures.
(4) Use of inappropriate teaching
technique involving stories told to elementary students that
included the use of graphic violence, intended to threaten and intimidate.
(5) Failure to supervise students
and follow School District procedures in this regard.
(6) Failure to implement
appropriate classroom management techniques.
(7) Lending School District keys to
(8) Insubordination toward
(9) Unprofessional behavior with
(10) Telling of lewd, vulgar, and
sexual jokes to students.
(11) Directing lewd, vulgar, sexual
comments toward specific students.
(12) Failure to adhere to
administrative requirements, including those related to lesson plans,
student attendance, hall passes, visitors, and classroom maintenance.
(13) General failure to adhere to Board of Education
(14) General failure to adhere to
the standard of professionalism otherwise reasonable
expected of member of the faculty.
After the Board decided not to renew Sarasin's contract, Schaid reprimanded Sarasin
March 6, 1997, for allowing a student to wear a stocking cap in class. The memo states that
it is a
"Notice of Reprimand," and the content includes a statement that Sarasin was thereby
The policy that students are not to wear hats in classrooms had previously been addressed at
meetings and in the handbooks.
On May 27, 1997, Schaid sent Sarasin a note to see him before noon about the art
awards night, which occurred a week before. The following day, Schaid sent Sarasin a note
Sarasin did not meet with him as he asked. Sarasin sent a note back the same day, May 28,
stating with precision the minutes during which he tried to contact Schaid but found him
before noon. On May 29, 1997, Schaid sent Sarasin a memo about not taking additional
submitting a work order to the custodians to make sure that the art work would be properly
displayed. Sarasin had reminded the custodians to put up tables and choral risers in the gym
had not done it by 8:00 a.m. as requested. When Mittag showed up just before noon,
him it was too late. Schaid took exception to the art work being displayed on the floor, and
Sarasin's note criticizing him for not publicizing the art show. The two of them wrote each
once more regarding the circumstances.
Other details of this case may be discussed by the parties or in the Discussion
are thousands of pages of transcripts, exhibits and briefs, and the above background presents
main portions of the transcript and exhibits.
THE PARTIES' POSITIONS
The following section describes only some of the arguments that the parties have
made in this
case, and the parties have written much much more in their briefs and reply briefs. The
does not attempt to summarize every argument or point being made, only some of them.
she has considered all of their statements, arguments and positions in her deliberations of this
The District asserts that it had just cause to suspend Sarasin for three days for his
on January 7, 1997, in the course of demonstrating working with clay at the potter's wheel.
Sarasin prepared a video tape that was supposed to be an exact reproduction of his
it was taller than what Schaid had seen on January 7th and he moved his thumbs on the top
shaft in a different manner. Sarasin even volunteered on the video tape to say how phallic it
During Schaid's conference with him, Sarasin admitted that he said that "boys
liked to play with the end of this," while at the arbitration hearing he said "the boys
like to play..."
In the private conference with the Board, he did not say "the boys". The District states that
dispute centers on what Sarasin meant, and the Arbitrator is not required to make any
The explanations offered by Sarasin are not believable, the District argues. First, he
was teaching about clay body through gender and sexual analogies, that he tried to teach the
technique in Nelson's book without success, and so he adopted the approach that
Schaid saw. Sarasin
volunteered the statement that the students that Schaid interviewed felt "sexually harassed".
is no requirement to center clay in the course, which raises the question of why Sarasin
the technique at all, other than to make another one of his jokes. In the private conference
Board, Sarasin denied using sexual references and analogies and offered another explanation,
that he referred to clay as oil in the motor. The District notes that Associate Professor Gary
that there is no reason to use sexual references in teaching the centering technique. The DPI
curriculum guide discloses no sexual references, and neither does the local curriculum
part by Sarasin. The District states that Sarasin was not in fact demonstrating a centering
but this was nothing more than drawing up a shaft of clay, rubbing the clay, and making a
remark containing innuendo, another of Sarasin's many jokes. The District states that Sarasin
admitted that the height of the shaft of clay has nothing to do with centering. Thus it states
intent was sexual innuendo from the onset, but he did not know that he was being observed
principal. The phallic symbol created by Sarasin and the comment he made was intended to
boys playing with a penis. His claim of instructional technique is false.
The District notes that in his second explanation, Sarasin claimed that his reference to
meant his hands, that he did not know what was being discussed in the January 8, 1997,
even though Schaid provided a detailed explanation of his observations at the start of the
Sarasin did not present his letter of explanation until the private conference on February 3,
which was 23 days after the January 9th hallway conference when he asked Schaid to submit
The reference to "boys" as his hands appears in his videotape, and while this assertion is as
as it sounds, it was advanced for the first time in the private conference. Even if the
was teamwork by hands, the statement at the end, "I don't know why," makes no sense. In
examination, Sarasin said he was being facetious, joking with the students. The District
this is probably more forthright, and the entire demonstration was intended as another of his
jokes. Sarasin asserted that a small metal piece was clicking against his forefinger and had
removed from the top of the shaft of clay, but he made no prior reference to it and Schaid
him lift it off and set it aside. On January 31, 1997, Sarasin said he was struggling to get
under control and smiled when he won the battle. Schaid never saw Sarasin struggle with
and the smile about winning the battle is contrived and not to be believed. Sarasin presented
pieces of bell wire on January 10, 1997, but not a broken piece of saw blade as he later
District also relies on Gary's testimony concerning the use of the word "play" and discounts
use of the word as a casual term in the arts. Again, it finds the reference to "play" as sexual
Moreover, the District argues that Sarasin has a history of inappropriate innuendo
students as well as sexual jokes and comments in class. Sarasin was given a written
1992 for telling crude blonde jokes. He was warned on February 9, 1994, for inappropriate
related to illegal drugs. He was reprimanded on January 16, 1996, for inappropriate sarcasm
language with elementary children. Although he was warned in 1992 to stop telling blonde
was still telling them in 1995-96 as Meyer testified. He admitted telling blonde jokes since
Schwartz testified about the crude sexual comment Sarasin made about his wife's breasts.
was provided with clear notice as to District rules against sexual comments, jokes and
with notice of the consequences. The Faculty Handbook includes the District policy on sexual
harassment. The District contends that it had just cause for the three day suspension, which
preceded by 25 prior warnings, reprimands and a suspension. The District used progressive
The District also argues that the Board had just cause to non-renew Sarasin's contract
basis of his repeated failure to adhere to District policies, rules and expectations. A review
record shows that he got 28 different written warnings, reprimands and suspensions without
a result of unacceptable work performance and misconduct, from May of 1992 through June
1997. The District has given Sarasin every opportunity to conform his conduct, but he failed
so. With the exception of the three-day suspension in this grievance, every instance of prior
has not been contested, and the underlying incidents must be accepted by the Arbitrator
further inquiry. Sarasin was afforded fair notice of all the entries, each of which could have
grieved but was not. Twenty-seven of the 28 disciplinary entries must be accepted by the
on their face and applied against Sarasin as stated.
The District asserts that Sarasin's conduct has been harmful to the physical,
educational interests of students. One student was so troubled by his conduct that she
to her parents and her guidance counselor, and she dropped out of art class. In the
Arnevik in 1992, elementary students were subjected to the angry confrontation started by
Also in 1992, Sarasin falsely accused a student of spreading oil paint around the sink, and
ended up at the office crying and very upset about Sarasin's conduct toward her. Later he
accused the wrong student, and her parent asked that she be allowed to withdraw from the
1994, Sarasin directed profanity at a student. In 1995, one student was hit on the head with
roller by another student, because Sarasin's classroom management was so lax as to be
allow these things to happen. In 1996 Sarasin was reprimanded for inappropriate use of
threatening language with seven year old students. Also in 1996 a student inhaled the
contents of an
unlabeled container in the classroom, which made it necessary to convey her to a hospital.
was responsible for properly labeling the container. Later in 1996 he was suspended for one
verbally berating and directing profanity at a student while disciplining her. In May of 1997,
did not coordinate the setup of tables for a display of students' art work, and a parent had to
on the floor to see his daughter's art work. The failings of Sarasin had real consequences,
in harm to students in a number of ways, from physical injury to emotional trauma, as well
dropping classes. No employer should have to tolerate this type of conduct, the District
The District further claims that Sarasin has a record of failing to adequately supervise
students, contrary to District policy and rules. On October 26, 1992, he was warned about
time for class while Schaid supervised the class the prior day in his absence. On February
he was again warned about extended absences from the classroom. He asked the secretaries
supervise his classes, contrary to a directive earlier provided, and gave no explanation for the
absences. Again in February of 1993, he got another warning for a late arrival to class. On
1994, Sarasin was warned about having student passes in the open. On February 2, 1995, he
warned about enforcing rules about tardy students. On February 9, 1995, he was warned
students were to use the kiln only under his direct supervision, and 13 days later, students
seen working in the kiln room without any supervision. On December 1, 1995, Schaid
Sarasin about permitting students to complete their own quarterly self-assessment forms. On
December 13, 1995, Schaid found a student in the hallway without a pass and told Sarasin to
aware of the whereabouts of students. On January 9, 1996, Sarasin was again warned about
late for class. On April 18, 1996, Sarasin was warned that students were not on task. Then
got a one-day suspension on May 6, 1996, for failing to act appropriately in disciplining a
On October 21, 1996, Sarasin was reminded that students are to make deliveries after class.
March 6, 1997, Sarasin received a written reprimand for failing to enforce the rule about not
hats in class.
Further, the District states that Sarasin has a record of failing to maintain appropriate
standards of classroom management and student discipline. One student called him a
he never referred her to the office. As previously noted, he berated and demeaned the
he falsely accused of placing oil paint in a sponge. On February 7, 1994, he swore at a
student in the
course of disciplining that student. He took no action regarding the student that threw the
and hit another student until being directed to do so. On May 2, 1996, Sarasin swore at a
the hallway and told her to get her "god damn ass" back in the room, and later told the next
he was going to see that the student was kicked out of his class with no credit. Schwartz
that the computer in Sarasin's classroom was the only one of 475 machines in the District
continuing problems. It is no wonder that Sarasin had the fewest number of students
enrolled in art
in the conference.
The District asserts that Sarasin's conduct proved harmful to the District's property
The technical college complained about the state of the classroom. Sarasin was directed to
orderly and clean. The custodial staff mopped only periodically because of the debris left on
Sarasin also loaned his school keys to students and he reported that the keys were lost,
were found a week later. Sarasin received a written warning on May 4, 1993, for his
conduct toward Schaid after being told to clean up student chalk drawings on a sidewalk at
school, because Schaid thought the chalk drawings might be viewed as graffiti and result in
graffiti or vandalism to the buildings over the weekend. Sarasin showed the same
the District's property as he did toward classroom management.
The District further contends that Sarasin is contemptuous of District policies, rules,
expectations. Sarasin did not know where the policies were located, and called them "junky
things." Teachers are required to acquaint themselves with policies and to comply
There is a complete set in the faculty handbook. Sarasin also called instructional time
precious time," and ridiculed the importance of it. He characterized supervision of students
kiln room as "holding kids' hands" and "Mickey Mouse stuff." He dismissed the severity of
reprimand regarding sexual jokes as a "big deal." Sarasin has not and will not learn
his mistakes, and attributes the District's non-renewal to "screwing him" for 15 years.
Sarasin was not singled out for disciplinary action, and the District's policies and
been applied to all employees on a consistent basis, the District asserts. Teachers who have
disciplined students have received discipline themselves. One was warned about his attempt
at a joke
and the use of the term "virgins." One was reminded that students are to be on task.
given to several coaches and faculty members for physical contact, swearing, loss of
control, inappropriate disciplinary and motivational techniques, etc. One was cautioned
staff meetings and supervising students. Three faculty members were warned about having
report to the office to get a pass. A teacher was warned about discussing past personal
conduct with students. Another received a reprimand for loaning keys to students, excessive
leave usage, being late to class, and various other infractions. Unlike the Grievant, when
teachers were disciplined, they either conformed or resigned. Schaid testified that he has not
previously disciplined any other teacher for a pattern of misconduct, involving repeated
school rules, of the number and variety found in Sarasin's record. He believed that the
continue. Sarasin has not made a commitment to adhere to school rules, the District claims.
Finally, the District argues that Sarasin has been provided specific notice of the
of failing to adhere to policy, rules, and expectations. It cites 12 written documents which
language regarding the consequences of further incidents or acts or conduct. He has been
reprimanded and suspended, and yet the violations continued. The District states that the
came to school to put in time and have fun, and the circumstances in which he finds himself
are of his
own making. The District has been patient, used progressive discipline, warned him in
with the labor contract and advised him of actions he could take. The District has just cause
for non-renewal of Sarasin's individual employment contract, and this grievance should be
The Association cites the seven tests of just cause as articulated by Arbitrator Carroll
Daugherty in Enterprise Wire Co., 46 LA 359 (1966), and argues that to the
extent that these tests
are not enumerated in Article VIII, they are implicit in the just cause standard that the parties
stipulated applies to this case.
The Association asserts that the District did not have just cause to suspend Sarasin for
three days for
the potter's wheel incident. The District has no evidence that Sarasin engaged in conduct
his 1992 behavior between May 1992 and the 1997 incident. The Association agrees that
made references to gender in numerous contexts but to suggest that gender
are per se inappropriate begs that question as to how a teacher would know that from
policies. The absence of sexual analogies in state and local curriculum guides does not mean
such references are improper and may result in discipline. The May 1992 letter cannot stand
forewarning to Sarasin that his 1997 conduct might result in discipline. The latter conduct is
significantly different in nature and remote in time. The Association notes that Klaeser was
one-day suspension for inappropriate language in the classroom but it was suspended when
District gave him a chance to redeem himself by taking a class, even though Klaeser had
earlier about the use of inappropriate language. Mlada also received a note about the use of
inappropriate language and had been previously cautioned, but received no other discipline.
The District has been ambiguous about the allegations against Sarasin and it is not
to say that the rules and orders allegedly violated are reasonable, the Association argues.
policy that was supposedly violated is a statement of some philosophical ideals, not a
conduct. Sarasin was charged with violating Board philosophy, but as a work rule, it is not
reasonable as it cannot be followed and has many meanings. Other policies cited -- such as
maintaining just and courteous relationships or placing the welfare of children as the first
are not a basis for suspending a teacher for some wrongdoing. Schaid fails to note in the
how Sarasin violated Board policy #423 regarding harassment, and the policy is overly
it seeks to encompass everything conceivably sexual in nature, and this overbreadth makes it
The District's investigation into the January 7, 1997, incident was unfair and
Association claims. It talked to four students out of 20 in the room, one aide, and reviewed
about pottery. When a teacher's career is on the line, he deserves more than this.
Moreover, all just
cause analyses call for a fundamentally due process before discipline is imposed. Schaid
acted as both
accuser and investigator. There are no statements from anyone, students or staff other than
who was in the classroom that day. It appears that Schaid interviewed only students who
to be against Sarasin, and Schaid hand picked them. The District's "expert" witness,
Professor Gary, was hired to explore the specific defects that the District had discussed with
During the interview of Sarasin by Schaid, Schaid refused to divulge any information he
from others in the classroom and he misinterpreted some of Sarasin's responses. Most
this case, Schaid deliberately misstated Sarasin's "admission" that some of the students in the
felt "sexually harassed" because of Sarasin's language and gestures. The testimony of
and the tape itself show that Sarasin uttered the phrase "sexually harassed" out of frustration
the way the interview was going.
The Association further argues that the District failed to provide substantial evidence
Sarasin violated the policies as described in the letter of suspension. The allegation that
"Now, boys like to play with the end of this, I don't know why," is inaccurate. Sarasin used
"my boys," not merely "boys." The term "my boys" referred to his hands working together
as a team,
and Tracy Christopherson heard Sarasin use those terms every time he gave a pottery
Sarasin used the term "playing with it" in reference to the clay. The only person who
Sarasin's terminology was sexual was Schaid, no other person came forward to say that they
the term offensive or suggestive. Even Gary used the term "play" in describing the
use of art materials. Sarasin's testimony that he meant that a potter needs to play with
the top of the
clay body to keep it under control ought to be fully credited. Moreover, the only evidence
Sarasin tried to diminish the severity of the 1992 reprimand exists only in Schaid's mind, and
reference in the suspension is gratuitous and not a basis for the suspension. The District
prove that Sarasin was guilty of the allegations.
Further, the Association maintains that the District has not applied its rules or orders
and without discrimination. No other teacher has been suspended for the inappropriate use
language. Sarasin's punishment would be the largest suspension ever imposed by the District
penalty is sustained, and he has been treated more harshly than other teachers. Finally, the
does not reasonably relate to the seriousness of the alleged violation and to Sarasin's record
with the District. Sarasin has shown that past reprimands or warnings have had their desired
and he conformed his behavior to the District's expectations. The fact that Sarasin had no
discipline since the suspension for one day five years ago should have a mitigating effect on
penalty that is warranted here. And no penalty is warranted.
Turning to the non-renewal grievance, the Association first asserts that the District
have just cause and there is no defining moment in the determination to recommend Sarasin
for non-renewal. Sarasin could not have been on notice that any of the 29 elements
presented against him at
the non-renewal private conference would form that basis for such an action. The letter of
warned that a repetition of the conduct might result in non-renewal, but nothing more
he served the three-day suspension. The other most recent "disciplinary" action was when
fell asleep during an in-service meeting. No discipline was imposed, Sarasin was merely
Before that, there was an incident where Sarasin was late in submitting his lesson plans. The
Association looks through Schaid's 29 points and finds a reprimand with a one-day
May 2, 1996, with the cautionary language that if Sarasin again used inappropriate methods
language to discipline students, he might be more severely disciplined, including
Sarasin did not use any inappropriate methods of discipline after that. One needs to go back
years to 1992 to find any warnings in the record regarding inappropriate language with any
connotations. Then follows five years during which Sarasin is never again accused of using
inappropriate sexually related language. There is nothing in the record that indicates that he
forewarned that his conduct over the past five years would reach a critical mass with the
administrators. The 1997 three-day suspension warned that further conduct of
that nature might lead
to non-renewal. The same incident cannot stand as the basis for two separate disciplinary
The Association complains that the District has not said what with specificity what
non-renewal. Many of the instances of "discipline" claimed by the District were Schaid's
uncorroborated personal, anecdotal notes. The Association reserves the right to address
some of the
issues in the reply brief, once it sees how the District will try to prove it had just cause to
Sarasin's contract. Over the 15 years that Sarasin taught in the District, all the alleged
began in 1991, coincident with the arrival of Schaid. The Board has 14 reasons for
without drawing any correspondence between the charges and the result. The Association
the District believes that all of these 29 incidents make up the basis for the
Schaid acknowledged at the arbitration hearing that many of the documents backing up the 29
incidents did not represent discipline. Once those incidents are eliminated from the equation,
it is no
longer possible to say what the Board would have done.
The Association's summary and argument will not be repeated for all the 29 incidents
just some of them. The first one -- the potter's wheel incident -- has already been
Number 2: falling asleep in an in-service meeting -- the Association notes that Appel's
accept Sarasin's explanation for falling asleep is consistent with the administration's refusal
any of Sarasin's explanations. This incident did not constitute discipline. Number 3 &
5: the District
had no evidence about these incidents at the arbitration hearing and these are irrelevant to
proceeding. Number 4: Schaid said that this memo about not following student attendance
procedures, having students in hall from art class, and having visitors to art class was not
Schaid admitted that he did not have the evidence to support the allegations in the memo, but
wrote it and presented it to the Board as a basis for the non-renewal. Number 6: the
accepts the facts as asserted regarding the 1996 one-day suspension for inappropriate
a student, and notes that Sarasin never repeated the conduct.
Number 7 & 8: students off task and giving instruction during the
announcements -- nothing
here is discipline. Number 9: non-compliance with hazard/safety protection procedure-- it is
whether this was discipline or not. The Association points out that Sarasin was not present
incident occurred, that Rohrer negated Schaid's concerns about the dangers of Sparex #2,
did not know why the MacNeil service never cited the missing label on the Sparex, that
efforts to comply with labeling requirements, and that the incident should never have
because the substitute's lesson plans indicated that the student should never have been using
Students testified that Sarasin was concerned about safety, cleanliness and labeling of
it was a big issue in the art room. The District's response is classic overkill without any
investigation into what really happened, and the student suffered no harm.
Number 10: the Association accepts the facts to be proven as Sarasin did not file a
Sarasin has taught elementary kids throughout his career with the District, and to suggest that
incident forms part of the basis for the non-renewal action borders on the absurd, the
asserts. Number 11: late to first hour class -- this cannot be discipline, and is another
Schaid's use of his anecdotal file to accumulate dirt on his staff without telling them that he
so. Number 12: students out of class without pass and students off task in class -- this also
discipline and is irrelevant. Number 13: the assessment forms -- again, not discipline in
Association notes that a curious part of Schaid's testimony is his insistence that Sarasin's
"willful," a term he declined to define. Sarasin's union representative at the private
Clauson of WEAC, called Sarasin "unorthodox" but never said that Sarasin disagreed with
District's rules. Sarasin abandoned the teaching technique after being criticized by Schaid.
Number 14: the Association notes that this incident regarding failure to supervise
follow hall pass expectations is not discipline, but it shows that each time Sarasin tried to
allegations, Schaid ignored him and issued another memo. The Association points out that
chose one of the busiest times of the year, during the preparation for the conference art
show, to raise
the issue with Sarasin, even though the practice had been going on since at least 1988, seven
before Schaid raised it as a problem. Number 15: not implementing appropriate classroom
management techniques -- this again is not discipline, though it contains some threat of future
discipline. The Association believes that Sarasin's attempt to work within the system was
by the administration that had an agenda not dependent on facts. Number 16: room
Schaid called this "borderline discipline," and the Association only notes that Sarasin
his art room and spent money on brooms for cleaning, rather than disregarding District
Number 17: lending District keys to students -- while this is not discipline, it again
a threat of discipline, and the parties differ over the facts. The Association states that Schaid
overlooked the fact that Sarasin never lost the keys. Regardless of the widespread past
teachers loaning keys to students, Sarasin stopped the practice, thereby showing that he was
willfully disregarding District policies. Number 18 & 19: students off task and visitor
allowed in class
-- these were not discipline. Number 20: verbal insubordination to Schaid -- the Association
this an absurd piece of quasi-discipline, and finds Schaid's reference to the chalk drawings as
to show an ignorance about art and artists. However, Schaid testified that he had not
letter to be discipline, and the Arbitrator should not consider it as part of progressive
Number 21: left classroom unsupervised -- this is stale and non-disciplinary, but remarkable
coming on the heels of an earlier memo which left Sarasin in the role of damned if you do,
if you don't.
Number 22: swore at student, and used inappropriate innuendo -- the Association
this non-disciplinary memo be disregarded, and reviews the contradictory evidence in the
as the testimony from students, teachers and parents. Number 23: the Association did not
this. Number 24: late to class -- this was not disciplinary. Number 25: verbal berating of a
a stale incident from 1992. Sarasin took the reprimand to heart and there are no other
this event in his work history. This was an isolated incident and should not be even a small
the non-renewal action. Number 26: late to class -- another stale incident, and not
Number 27: unprofessional behavior with a colleague -- if the Arbitrator thinks this incident
relevant at all, she should credit Sarasin's direct testimony over the hearsay evidence offered
District. Number 28: making lewd/vulgar/sexual jokes/comments to students -- the
that Sarasin admitted his mistakes and did not repeat that behavior. The District cannot use a
five-year-old incident to springboard to non-renewal from a letter of reprimand. Number 29:
classrooms -- this is too remote in time, too trivial to document.
The Association argues that the District has not applied its rules or order fairly and
discrimination against Sarasin. Other teachers used inappropriate language with students.
teachers engaged in some of the other conduct for which Sarasin has been cited, if not
Because of the evidence and the way the District has presented it, no one can say
whether Sarasin has
been treated fairly, but the burden is on the District to show that its treatment of Sarasin was
evenhanded and it did not carry that burden. Finally, the Association asserts that the
excessive, given Sarasin's long tenure with the District.
In Reply - the District
The District first objects to the Association's definition of just cause articulated in the
Enterprise Wire Co. case, and points out that the parties have negotiated and
agreed upon a standard
of just cause. Article VIII, Section B of the collective bargaining agreement details the
to be followed before an employee is subject to discipline or non-renewal, and this procedure
and renders the criteria set forth in the Enterprise Wire Co. case inapplicable.
The District notes that
the Association believes that Sarasin must receive a document which is specifically
"discipline" in order to be held accountable. However, the bargaining agreement only
District with providing appropriate warning, oral or written reprimand, and Sarasin was
multiple warnings as well as oral and written reprimands. Schaid explained the term
encompass reprimand, suspension, discharge or non-renewal, and he explained the
discipline approach which is founded upon warning employees to correct conduct before
disciplinary action is needed. The District asserts that Schaid's characterization of exhibits
disciplinary or non-disciplinary is irrelevant and the characterization is not required under the
negotiated disciplinary procedure. If an employee is criticized or rebuked by a supervisor
misconduct or unsatisfactory work performance and told not to repeat it, no reasonable
can be reached other than the employee has been disciplined and clearly warned. An
ignores an action of this type at his or her peril, the District states.
The District also takes issue with the Association's suggestion that Sarasin did not
notice of the consequences of his misconduct regarding the potter's wheel incident. Sarasin
asserted that he did not expect to be disciplined if he again engaged in sexual innuendo and
class, and the Association advances this position for the first time in its brief. Sarasin was
warned in 1992, and the warning could not become stale. The passage of time afforded no
and did not diminish the warning. He cannot escape accountability on the premise that he
prior warning. Although Sarasin was given a specific directive not to tell blonde jokes, he
acknowledged doing so and Meyer confirmed it. Also, the District asserts that the terms of
faculty handbook provide clear notice as to standards of conduct, and the provisions are
nor overly broad. This is not a criminal case and the terms of the handbook are not subject
criminal standard of assessment. The Board's policy on sexual harassment provides clear
the prohibition against the conduct which the Grievant engaged in on January 7, 1997. The
Association did not present a question with respect to the terms of the handbook and Sarasin
now challenge its terms at this date. Contrary to the Association's assertion, an employee
request and be granted a hearing with the Board, and the hearing is to be conducted by the
which includes the school administrator.
The District finds it remarkable that the Association complains about too much
documentation. The District also asserts that contrary to the Association's claim, Schaid
Sarasin with a comprehensive description of the purpose of the January 8, 1997, conference.
believes the credentials and expertise of Gary far exceed those of Sarasin and Rohrer. The
argues that the comments of Tracy Christopherson regarding "the boys" must be discounted.
assertion that Sarasin used "the boys" reference every time he demonstrated how to work
cannot be believed, as Sarasin did not advance that explanation until the private conference.
District notes that Christopherson circulated a petition to renew Sarasin's contract without
the reasons for the non-renewal, and that she admitted sneaking out of class to smoke. The
also disputes the Association's assertion that Sarasin used the term about sexual harassment
frustration, and believes that he was sarcastic and defiant and knew what he had done, that it
sexual in nature and directed to students. The District decided not to involve students or
members in the arbitration hearing, and the Arbitrator is not required to verify what
other witnesses or make a credibility determination. It is only Sarasin's explanation that is in
If the Association thought that the students' testimony would destroy the District's case, it
subpoenaed them to appear.
Regarding the non-renewal action, the District argues that the Association has
array of shallow arguments which have no merit. Sarasin never filed a grievance or
District about the prior warnings, reprimands or suspensions up until the three-day
suspension in this
case. Over five years, he was repeatedly warned that his conduct would result in
non-renewal of his
contract. The administrative team reviewed his record and decided to recommend
events of January 7, 1997, were the final straw, but even without the three-day suspension,
ample evidence of just cause for non-renewal. The Association advances no legal authority
position that Sarasin has a license to violate a rule, policy or expectation because that he may
held accountable until he repeats the violation. This is not recognized under any principle of
or employment law. Even after the non-renewal private conference, Sarasin disregarded the
rule on students wearing hats in classrooms and failed to coordinate the art work
shows he is unwilling or unable to conform his conduct or both, and there is reason to
the pattern will continue. The District objects to the Association's assertion that conduct for
Sarasin was suspended cannot also be a basis upon which to non-renew his contract, or an
employment contract could never be non-renewed. Where the repeated failure of a teacher to
to rules, policies and expectations is the basis for non-renewal, the decision is necessarily
the complete employment record.
The District then states that there is no evidence to suggest that the student injured
inhaling Sparex did so intentionally, and contrary to the Association's brief, the student was
and conveyed to the hospital for treatment. Sarasin is responsible for labeling the container
cannot shift responsibility onto the substitute teacher. The District asserts that the
graphic comments and innuendo with elementary school students on January 10, 1996, is a
non-renewal. Sarasin was warned on February 9, 1994, regarding innuendo, and the District
significant interest in preventing inappropriate innuendo. The whole series of incidents goes
essence of the District's basis for non-renewal.
The Association's suggestions that Sarasin should not be accountable for unsupervised
of the kiln because it happened at a busy time of the year is outrageous, the District states.
Wisconsin Supreme Court has stated that a teacher has no greater responsibility than to
students. Sarasin could have taken a few minutes before or after classes to move students'
to the kiln room. The District also asserts that there is no widespread past practice of
teachers to loan keys to students, and it was corrected every time it came to the attention of
administrators. The incident of insubordination for refusing to remove chalk drawings was
"quasi" discipline -- Sarasin was clearly advised on the insubordinate character of his conduct
its consequences, and Schaid did not testify that he did not intend the letter to be
District also takes issue with the Association's claim regarding Hephner's testimony, and
evidence that when inappropriate comments regarding sexual matters were made by Klaeser
corrective measures were promptly taken in writing. The Association must know its
every teacher has a number of citations in the personnel record is not true, and Sarasin's
unprecedented. The District asks that both grievances be dismissed.
In Reply - the Association
The Association takes issue with the District's assertion that there is no substantive
as to Sarasin's conduct, and argues that nothing could be further off the mark. The District
that Sarasin did not see Schaid come into the room during the demonstration at the potter's
but Sarasin testified just the opposite, that he recognized Schaid's shoes. The Association
with the words that were said, regarding boys like to play with this. The District failed to
students or the other adult in the room who observed the demonstration. Moreover, it was
conjecture on the part of the District to claim that Sarasin realized that Schaid was in the
the first time when he looked up. Schaid's claim that Sarasin looked surprised came up for
time at the arbitration hearing and this testimony is very suspect. The Association also notes
shape of the clay was in a cone, not a shaft, as noted by the video tape, and the difference in
is significant. The suggestion by the District that the Arbitrator can simply adopt the
proposed findings of fact makes little sense, and the Arbitrator needs to consider all the
draw her own conclusions. If the District's version of events should be more credible, it
made sense for the District to call the four students and aide as witnesses. Apparently they
not support the administration's rendition of the classroom demonstration. Either none of the
witnesses support Schaid's view, or some of them would and some would not, or one or
them agreed with Sarasin or at least did not find his behavior offensive in any way.
The Association also disputes other facts that the District has asserted, such as
"admission" that he sexually harassed his students. The District has ignored the testimony of
and Klaeser on this issue. Further, Sarasin did not use sexual references to describe the
of clay. Rather, he made gender references and characteristics that are stereotypical but
accurate. The Association says that the District makes a weird leap to conclude that the only
Sarasin was demonstrating the centering of clay in the first place was to make another
of his jokes. First, it's not possible to throw anything on a potter's wheel without first
clay. Secondly, the assumption the District makes about Sarasin's continuing pattern of
jokes has no foundation. All of the District's references to sexual connotations come from
hearsay comments and cannot stand.
The Association argues that if Sarasin did in fact engage in conduct as alleged, then
the District bootstrap from the three-day unpaid suspension to a non-renewal in the absence
additional conduct? The Association finds the District's reliance on Gary to be remarkable.
a sterile laboratory setting to give a demonstration. Sarasin had a classroom with many
exceptional educational needs. Also, the District attacks Sarasin's defense of the term "the
the basis that he knew from the outset of the investigatory interview that Sarasin knew what
was talking about, but the interview shows that Schaid was not clear as to what he was
at the beginning of the meeting. The District fails to note that Schaid was not present at the
the demonstration, when he would have heard Sarasin refer to his hands when he was talking
teamwork. The Association disputes the District's statement that teaching teamwork and
have little, if any, correlation, and points out that Gary used her hands together during her
demonstrations. Also, the District's assumption that the clay is kept in a pristine condition in
classroom is contrary to the testimony that students sweep it up and put it back into the
barrel to be
re-mixed. Although the District faults Sarasin for different explanations for his use of the
"play," Sarasin probably did not even recall using the term and offered the best recollection
The District also refers to a nude or semi-nude sketch of a student, but the 1992 reprimand
reference to any such drawing. It is impermissible to create something new and claim that it
to the earlier incident. The Association notes that the District's rule that prohibits
is fine but no one ever came forward to claim that he or she was offended by anything
or did in 1997, except Schaid.
Regarding the non-renewal portion of this case, the Association finds it curious that
District calls items 2, 3, 5-15, 17-19, 22 and 24 warnings. Schaid testified as to most of
so-called warnings and said they were not intended as discipline when they were issued,
District was able to get Schaid to claim they were discipline on re-direct examination. The
argument that the sheer weight of prior discipline in and of itself warrants non-renewal must
Additionally, the Association points out that the District has not shared with it the formula it
reaching the decision to non-renew Sarasin's contract. Two of the so-called prior disciplines
occurred after the non-renewal decision. Why should Sarasin be held responsible for not
or grieving prior incidents when Schaid did not think they were discipline at the time? The
Association also finds the District's rendition of the Sparex incident to be exaggerated, with
such as "discomfort" and or "injury," while it overlooked the fact that Sarasin directed the
teacher not to allow students to work with jewelry that day when he was absent. The
exploration of the art show in May of 1997 is post hoc rationalization and cannot be allowed
The Association argues that the District ignores the fact that the most recent
received for inadequate student supervision was in 1995. The District stretches its definition
student supervision when it refers to Sarasin's decision to allow students to complete
their own quarterly self-assessment forms, when a student coming from another class
was in the hall
without a pass, and when Sarasin was warned about being late for class. The District also
in globalization of behaviors and conduct with no sense of proportion, especially when it
incidents about classroom management and student discipline, none of which were discipline,
17 years with the District. Then the Association calls the District's statement that Sarasin's
is responsible for low enrollment in art to be stunning, and doesn't even know where this
came from. The District has singled out Sarasin when it uses the incident about the keys,
and its spin
on the sidewalk incident is interesting because it shows that Schaid was incapable of viewing
projects as having value. The District asserts that there are risks to students in the kiln room
to reveal what those risks are or note that students were in there when the kiln was off and
The Association also disputes the District's forewarnings that Sarasin might face
The same phrase was repeated over and over in the memos sent to Sarasin. It appears that
District was simply appending the phrase to everything, or it was cautioning him that
behavior of the same sort would result in more severe discipline but the current conduct did
warrant more severe discipline. The last document before the notice of intent to non-renew
Sarasin that any future conduct would result in more severe discipline, but he never engaged
future conduct of that type. The meaningless warnings of the language were underscored by
warnings given after the non-renewal.
The Association disputes the District's statement that it was patient with Sarasin, and
that the evidence shows just the opposite. Sarasin was an excellent art teacher, if a bit
quirky in his
methods. The Association says that Schaid was angry, testy, mean spirited, hostile and
finding fault with Sarasin.
The collective bargaining agreement provides in Article VIII, Teacher Rights, the
B. Before a teacher is subjected to documented
disciplinary procedures, reduction in rank or
compensation, dismissal or non-renewal, the following procedures will be followed:
1. The employee has been
informed of organizational rules related to the orderly, efficient
and safe operation of the school district.
2. The employer shall provide
appropriate warning, oral or written reprimand.
3. Specific charges leading to such
action shall have been made in writing to the employee.
4. An investigation shall be conducted to
determine the accuracy of the allegations made to or
by the employer against the employee.
5. The employee may request and shall be granted a
hearing with the employer regarding such
charges. The employee shall have the right to counsel representation at the hearing and the
grieve any decision and/or action of the Board at the conclusion of the hearing.
6. The employer has disciplined
the employee in a non-discriminatory fashion appropriate to
the documented/substantiated offense.
7. Grievances filed under this
provision of the Agreement shall commence with the
Arbitration step of the Grievance Procedure.
The Arbitrator will consider the grievance involving the suspension before
grievance involving the non-renewal of the Grievant's individual employment contract.
The Three-Day Suspension
It is the District's burden to show that it has just cause for the three-day suspension
potter's wheel incident on January 7, 1997. The burden is not the criminal standard of
reasonable doubt, but it is more than just the preponderance of the evidence, the tipping of
where the allegations involve such serious charges as sexual comments and gestures in the
I find that the District has not carried this burden and has not clearly demonstrated that it had
cause for the suspension. The record does not support the District's position in many
The District has an extraordinary view of what happened on January 7, 1997, in the
hour of Sarasin's art class. The District suggests that Sarasin was making sexual innuendoes
centering clay on the potter's wheel. While anyone could make the illusion of a phallic
clay is brought up into a shape of a shaft or cylinder or a cone, Schaid saw it as the shape of
Schaid further saw the demonstration of Sarasin's hands as an analogy to masturbation,
when Sarasin said something about "The boys like to play with this, I don't know why".
The District takes a further extraordinary position when it believes that Sarasin's only
in the demonstration was to make one of his jokes. Does the District seriously believe that
centering of clay on the potter's wheel was done so that Sarasin could have a laugh and show
an illusion of masturbation? There is simply no evidence to support such a position.
I credit Sarasin's testimony that he knew Schaid was in the room watching the
There is no reason to discredit that statement. The students were in a semi-circle around
Sarasin could have easily spotted someone's shoes and pants joining the class. Schaid would
able to tell whether or not Sarasin had spotted him. Accordingly, with the principal in the
watching the demonstration, it is not likely that Sarasin started to demonstrate masturbation
One can understand how Schaid got an erroneous impression by Sarasin's odd-ball
his hands as "the boys". As one of the Board members noted, why not just call his hands
However quirky this is, the students apparently knew that Sarasin meant his hands when he
referred to them as "the boys". The District urges the Arbitrator to reject
in this respect, but Christopherson and all the former students were quite credible in their
Christopherson even helped the District slightly here by also testifying that Sarasin used
and masculine gender references to describe the clay properties, something else that is
objectionable to the District. One of the problems in this case is that Schaid makes up his
advance of any investigation, and no matter what reasonable explanation is given, Schaid
it without any factual basis to do so.
Obviously, it is possible for students to take any innocuous or inopportune statement
wrong way. The former physical education teacher, Kleinhans, noted that she asked students
their balls between their feet or put their balls on the floor when they were to sit and listen,
comment always got a little giggle from the elementary level boys. However, the record --
its length -- does not show whether the students actually took Sarasin's remarks in a sexual
or whether it was only Schaid's impression.
Schaid's view of Sarasin's conduct is colored by an obvious dislike and history with
more of which will be noted later. Schaid's view of the demonstration was a brief snapshot,
hearing the whole explanation of the demonstration. Schaid and Sarasin also see things in a
different light, such as in the chalk drawing incident, where Sarasin saw the drawing as a
dragon and Schaid saw it as a snake and graffiti.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and apparently, so are phallic symbols. When
with clay and bringing the clay up to start to shape it, some will see a cylinder, some will
see a cone,
some will see a shaft, some will see a penis. The illusion to the phallic symbol is only how
the shape, not everyone. Many people see the potter's work as having a hypnotic and
The Association is correct in its position that if the District wanted to show that
offended by Sarasin's demonstration and comment, it could have brought them forward to
The Arbitrator cannot rely on hearsay evidence for such an important determination. The
problem regarding the students in the class is that Schaid relied on them to investigate
conduct, but he subsequently refused to tell Sarasin who those students were. Sarasin
one of them might have been a student that Sarasin suspended previously, and therefore had
to grind. There is nothing in the record to determine whether or not Schaid's investigation
conducted. We will never know whether any student saw a sexual reference, and if so, was
of Sarasin's actions or Schaid's suggestion.
The investigatory interview with Sarasin is on audio tape and was entered into
tape confirms the Association's position that Sarasin never admitted that he sexually harassed
students, and the statement was made out of frustration or exasperation. This was also
by the testimony of Klaeser.
It is worth noting that when Schaid objected to Klaeser's remark about sacrificial
was no disciplinary action but only an objection raised on the evaluation as a "cautionary
This would have certainly been a more appropriate route -- to suggest that the teacher be
"circumspect" about the language, rather than jumping to a three-day suspension. The
argued that the potter's wheel incident is part of a continuing pattern of sexual innuendo and
by Sarasin for which he was reprimanded in 1992, five years earlier. However, there is no
that Sarasin kept on telling sexual or vulgar jokes or made such comments to students in the
The District also asserts that Meyer's testimony confirms that Sarasin continued to tell vulgar
However, she only testified that he told dumb blonde jokes, not lewd or vulgar jokes, and
that he never used any lewd, vulgar or sexual comments with students.
The record instead shows that Sarasin stopped the conduct for which he was
1992 and adhered to Schaid's directive. There is every indication, despite the District's
that Sarasin tried to conform to the District's expectations. No other teachers, students,
administrators came forward to testify that Sarasin continued to use inappropriate sexual
or innuendo after he was reprimanded in 1992. Those who came forward testified that he
inappropriate sexual language or innuendo. The District has its suspicions, but that is not
carry the day here.
The District makes too much out of the words "play with the end of it." It is logical
about playing with clay, maneuvering it with one's hands, etc. The end of "it" referred only
to the top
of the clay form. There was nothing in the demonstration that actually looked like male
and the District knows it. The charge is that there were sexual comments, gestures,
innuendo. There were no sexual comments in the context in which the statements were
There were absolutely no sexual gestures. Crossing thumbs and pushing down on clay?
How is that
sexual? The overtones and innuendo are only in Schaid's mind, and there was no intent for
demonstration to have any sexual overtones.
The District could -- if it chooses -- demand that all gender references be eliminated
class. The so-called notion of political correctness may have spun out of control when a
cannot refer to sacrificing virgins in the context of talking about mythology. However, the
can determine the standards it wants. But it lacks just cause for discipline when it takes
out of context, refuses to accept the proffered explanation, and makes some leap of
accuse an employee of such serious misconduct. If Sarasin's intent was to create a sexual
certainly would not have done so or said anything when Schaid was in the room. Despite the
District's assumption that Sarasin did not see Schaid in the room and that Sarasin gave
explanations at different times, Sarasin always asserted that he knew that Schaid was in the
The evidence simply does not clearly show that Sarasin was using sexual innuendo or
comments or gestures or doing something offensive in the classroom. The record rests on
impressions and testimony versus Sarasin's testimony. For the reasons stated above,
Sarasin's testimony on the major findings here -- namely, that he knew Schaid was in
the room, that
he frequently called his hands "the boys," that he had no intent to create a phallic symbol,
intention was to show students how to center clay. Sarasin's conduct does not warrant a
The Non-Renewal of Sarasin's Contract
The non-renewal of Sarasin's individual employment contract is largely contingent
three-day suspension for the potter's wheel incident, because even the District admits that the
wheel incident was the "final straw." It's really more than that, however -- it's the
foundation for the
whole hay stack which falls apart pretty quickly when most of the pieces are things that were
disciplinary or could not withstand disciplinary actions in the first place.
There is no dispute over four prior disciplinary actions that were not grieved. Those
1992 reprimand for telling lewd and vulgar jokes, the 1992 reprimand for chastising the
student in the yellow oil paint incident, the 1996 reprimand for graphic language with
children (the piranha teeth incident), and the 1996 one-day suspension for swearing at a
was out of the classroom.
Out of the 29 so-called incidents that Schaid presented to the Board, two were not
at the arbitration hearing -- those being late lesson plans. Four were clearly discipline, and
23 fall in some no-man's land category, not being clearly disciplinary, some containing some
of future discipline, and some nothing more than hand-written notes kept by Schaid. Seven
potential to be called "warnings" on some level, but more will be noted about that later.
The record shows some strange attempts to chastise or discipline Sarasin, to say the
such as the time that Sarasin was "disciplined" for what a student did to another student, and
happened in his classroom on a day that he was not even there. Those so-called disciplinary
add strength to the notion that Schaid was determined to remove Sarasin from the staff.
Arbitrator understands that the paint roller incident -- where one student hit another with the
roller -- was blamed on Sarasin for his "lax" classroom management style, even teachers
every student with eagle eyes cannot prevent the conduct of student-on-student mischief all
As far as being "disciplined" for an incident in which a teacher is not even there, it should
saying that one must cast a skeptical glance on such a disciplinary measure.
Then there are the incidents in which Sarasin can do no right, no matter what he
does. If he
leaves students alone in the classroom while going to the kiln, he is told to call for help from
office. When he complies and calls for help from the office, he is told not to disrupt the
in the office anymore. If students have finished their projects for the year, he is told that
to be on task at all times. If Sarasin uses the time set aside for daily announcements to start
lesson, he is told to let students listen and not use that time as instructional time. When
Schaid is told
by another administrator that he saw something in Sarasin's classroom, Schaid writes a
without having any other knowledge of it or even speaking to Sarasin about it first (that
#7 taken to the Board as part of the group of 29 incidents for non-renewal). If Sarasin
his visitor was approved to come into his class and that no one put things on the computer
inappropriate, Schaid does not accept the explanation.
The chalk incident is illustrative for several reasons. It is unclear whether this
resulted in discipline or not. Schaid thought Sarasin was being insubordinate, but his letter
indicate that Sarasin was being given a reprimand. Schaid's letters often threaten future
an expression of his "deep concern." However, this does not make them disciplinary in fact.
what is interesting about the chalk incident is how Sarasin and Schaid perceive things.
the chalk drawing as a friendly dragon. Schaid saw a snake. Sarasin saw the kids having
writing "Purely Root" under the letters "Beer" on the can. Schaid saw "Beer" and graffiti
destruction of property. These are two people who could not agree on the time of day if
sitting on top of Big Ben.
While Schaid had previously expressed his concern over a loss of instructional time,
incident he somehow felt compelled to interrupt the instructional time to have it out with
Schaid could have waited until Sarasin completed his classes. Schaid had previously
such time could be used for kiln room work instead of Sarasin wasting class time.
The Arbitrator is puzzled as to why this became a big thing in Schaid's mind. If it
10 or 20 minutes to wash it off, why couldn't Schaid ask a custodian to do it? A custodian
help Sarasin hook up the hose anyway. Moreover, Board Exhibit #14, Schaid's anecdotal
his conversation with Sarasin, shows that Sarasin told him that the weekend rain would wash
If the forecast were wrong, it could have been washed off on Saturday.
However, the most disturbing aspect of the chalk incident, at least for the result in
arbitration, is the vagueness of disciplinary actions. It is unclear in this instance, as well as
exactly what is discipline and what is direction or correction. This is an important point,
every direction and correction that an employer gives an employee is discipline. Not every
that is later documented is discipline. However, the District, and Schaid in particular, seem
that things that have been called to an employee's attention and then documented are fair
game in the
disciplinary picture. That is not so. Disciplinary actions need to be clearly defined. An
needs to know first of all that he is indeed being disciplined and what the discipline is for.
employee needs to have a chance to grieve it if he or she so chooses or to respond with an
to his or her personnel file or even ignore it. It is a lack of due process to later claim that
is disciplinary when it is not clear that it was ever intended to be a disciplinary action at the
the employee could have done something about it. Schaid even called one memo, from
1995, regarding cleanliness, "borderline disciplinary." Now, it either is or it isn't.
In the chalk incident, Schaid said his memo was a letter of warning, because Sarasin
initially insubordinate to him by refusing to follow his direction. Insubordination has been
as the refusal to obey an order from proper authority and a willful disregard of the
implied directions of the employer. Napoleon Board of Education, 74 LA
303, 306 (Roumell, Jr.,
1980). Sarasin never got as far as actually being insubordinate, although he may have been
that way until Schaid said, "Let me get my pad and pencil," indicating that he was about to
up. Sarasin's initial refusal to wash the sidewalk had more to do with the timing. Schaid
Sarasin was done teaching at 2:30 p.m., which was probably an error made by Garfield.
he had to teach until 3:00 p.m., and that since it was Friday, he could leave at 3:10 p.m.
Sarasin agreed to wash off the sidewalk after the busses left, which was acceptable to Schaid.
even if the letter regarding the chalk incident were to be established as discipline, what was
being disciplined for? His attitude? More importantly, the letter given to Sarasin was not
identified in any manner as being discipline. Schaid testified that if Sarasin
assumed that it was
discipline, he could have grieved it (TR - p. 205) or if he perceived it to be
disciplinary (TR - p. 228).
When a supervisor hands out a disciplinary measure, it should be clear enough that the
receiving it does not have to guess as to whether or not he has been disciplined.
Another example of the lack of clarity of disciplinary actions is when Schaid testified
Garfield's letter to Sarasin regarding the dispute between Sarasin and Arnevik over not
students to art class. Schaid stated that Garfield's letter was NOT a reprimand, but then
went on to
say that he THOUGHT it was disciplinary, that it could have been grieved. How could it
grieved if it was not a reprimand? What is it? There is no clear indication in the letter itself
did not testify) that it is a disciplinary action. There is the veiled threat of future action, but
has no indication in and of itself that it was a disciplinary action, that Sarasin should consider
to have been reprimanded or disciplined. The letter only states that the author is writing to
Another example -- the February 15, 1993, letter states in it: "Failure to (rectify
shortcomings) will result in disciplinary action being taken against you." Schaid testified that
memo was not discipline. However, the February 22, 1995, memo which also included
failure to adhere to expectations would result in further and more severe disciplinary actions,
Schaid considered that memo to be a disciplinary measure -- a warning, due to the language
failure to adhere to expectations would result in more severe disciplinary actions. While the
now asserts that all the memos that contained some boilerplate language about future
actions (and some that didn't) should be considered disciplinary at this point in time, if they
disciplinary in the first place, why should they have become disciplinary now? The short
course, is that they are not discipline, were not intended to be, and cannot be now.
The failure to clearly identify what is disciplinary action and what is not results in a
determination in this award that those incidents which are not clearly identified as discipline
be considered as discipline. This is a fair result, because no one can go back in time to say
would have happened if certain memos had been clearly identified as discipline. There
should be no
ambiguity in this area. It is fundamentally unfair to load up a record with matters that were
considered disciplinary actions at the time and to now characterize everything as discipline,
borderline discipline, or cautionary disciplinary actions, or a warning because it was called to
attention. This is a fundamental flaw in the District's case.
The need to clearly state a disciplinary action comes as no surprise to the District. In
when it wants to clearly identify disciplinary action, it has done so. For example:
1. The May 8, 1992, letter regarding jokes states in the
last part of the letter: "Therefore,
you are hereby reprimanded for engaging in these behaviors. . . "
2. The November 30, 1992, letter for disciplining the
wrong student states: "Therefore, you
are hereby reprimanded for the actions taken by you . . ."
3. The January 16, 1996, letter from Appel states in the
body of the letter: "Therefore, you
are hereby reprimanded for the actions taken by you . . ."
4. The May 6, 1996, disciplinary action states under the
address: "Re: Notice of Disciplinary
Suspension." Also, it states within the letter: "On the basis of your conduct on May 2,
are hereby suspended from employment, without compensation, for one (1) working day . .
5. The three-day suspension of 1997, where the heading
clearly states, right under Sarasin's
address: "Re: Notice of Disciplinary Suspension," and in the body of the letter
dated January 10,
1997, it further states: "Therefore, on the basis of your conduct on January 7, 1997, you are
suspended from employment, without compensation, for three (3) working days . . ."
Similarly, the March 30, 1995, letter for the suspension of Klaeser starts with "Re:
Disciplinary Suspension, " and later in the letter, states: ". . . you are hereby suspended
employment. . ." (Bd. Ex. #40)
Contrast those with District Exhibit #43, letters to coaches (some were community
not faculty) and teachers. Schaid called these discipline, but there is no language about what
in the future except some veiled threat about hating to see anything stand in the way of
employment. Would a reasonable person know that a disciplinary action has been taken
or her, that strike one has passed? Not likely.
Schaid reserves his options to call something discipline or not. He called one memo
physical education teachers a cautionary memorandum (Bd. Ex. #43, p. 6, TR. p.
noted that once he has to reduce something to writing, it moves up on the scale of leading to
severe discipline." It either is discipline in the first place or it isn't, and if it is, the party
needs to know it. There is no way that the people receiving this memo would have known
were in a cautionary-quasi-preliminary-borderline-disciplinary action. Look at the memo to
Schaid called it discipline, but there is nothing in the memo itself that would indicate that it
cross examination over Board Exhibit #43, page 7 (the memo to Doll), Schaid was asked if
everything that was reduced to writing constituted discipline (TR - pages 1181-1184):
A: Not necessarily.
Q: How would the person know
just because it was reduced to writing that it was discipline?
A: Because of the nature of the
conference that I had with her.
Q: Did you tell her that you were
going to issue her a disciplinary memorandum?
A: I can't recall if I told her that
Q: Then what did you mean when
you said because of the conference you had with her?
A: Because she knew that I had
great concern over the issue that was observed. She had
great concern over it as well. She knew I would take exception to that. She came to me
start the conference sooner than I had planned.
Q: So great concern rises to the
level of discipline in your mind?
Q: And you've told the faculty that
I take it?
A: In general terms, yes.
Q: So --
A: They know, they know. I've
told the faculty that if I see something that I feel needs to
be corrected, the initial step is going to be, unless it's of a real serious magnitude, I tell the
do dumb things, don't hit a kid, that would be bad, that would not be good, but if there are
need to be corrected, we'll talk about it first. I've told the teachers repeatedly in disciplinary
situations, you know when we're all said and done with a particular disciplinary situation
student, I mean classroom misconduct, we may talk about afterwards and talk about how we
have done that better, and they are well aware that if we have repeated situations such as
the next step is to reduce it in writing and then the reprimand.
Q: They know that's a discipline
A: I believe so, yes.
Q: And how would they know
A: Because of what I just testified,
I've told them that.
Q: You didn't say at any point that
you told them this would be the first step in discipline or
words to that effect?
A: The process that we used with
correcting negative behavior or inappropriate behavior or
behavior that's not in line with the rules of the school is we talk and reduce to writing and
reduce to writing and go on down the line.
Q: Is page 7 a warning?
A: It's calling to her attention the
fact that this misconduct is not to occur again.
Q: Is it a warning?
A: I think I've answered the
question. It depends how you define warning. In my mind, yes.
Q: What does it warn her of?
A: It warns her to be consistently, constantly aware of
the professional line that must exist
between teachers and kids, and it warns her that she is expected to review the procedures on
controversial issues in the faculty handbook and be sure to consult with me whenever she
controversial issue coming forward.
Q: Is there anything in there that
says she's likely to face discipline if she does not do that?
In addition to the confusion of when something is reduced to writing and what its effect
enunciated two other standards of discipline in that exchange -- one, when he has great
two, when he calls something to one's attention. In another instance regarding the students
kiln without supervision, Schaid said that Sarasin could conclude that he had been given a
because the memo was copied to the personnel file.
There is nothing wrong with a supervisor calling something to an employee's
is nothing wrong with a supervisor expecting more out of employees and letting them know
or she has raised the expectation of performance. It is normal and usual for supervisors to
direct, lead, counsel, do all those things -- and even document them. However, these are not
considered to be disciplinary actions by most employers. Indeed, it would reduce the
of supervisors if every time a supervisor corrected or directed an employee, it was
Schaid understands the difference between clearly giving someone a reprimand or
his testimony regarding the November 20, 1992, reprimand on page 435 of the Transcript.)
always understood the importance of clearly stating a disciplinary action. He pointed out to
for the Grievant that the November 30, 1992, reprimand was in conformance with the
it says, "Therefore, you are hereby reprimanded."
A review of the so-called 29 incidents taken to the Board by Schaid reveal the
things noted by the Arbitrator:
1. The three-day suspension for the potter's wheel
incident (which has been noted above as
not being for just cause);
2. Falling asleep during teacher
in-service meeting -- no indication that this was a disciplinary
3. Past due lesson plans -- nothing
noted in the arbitration hearing about this matter, not
4. Not following student
attendance procedure/students in halls/visitors to art class --
nothing disciplinary about this, matter of procedural items to be clarified, minor corrections
5. Past due lesson plans -- nothing
noted in the arbitration hearing about this, not considered
Swearing at student -- one-day
suspension; clearly disciplinary;
7. Students off task/teacher off task during instructional
time this was reported to Schaid
by another administrator (DeMaster); the evidence is mixed as to whether or not Schaid and
ever spoke about this, with Schaid denying it and Sarasin asserting that they did and that
light of DeMaster's comments; not discipline;
8. Giving instruction during daily
school announcements -- not discipline, only minor
correction and direction;
9. Non-compliance with
hazard/safety protection procedure -- Sarasin not even at school on
this day, substitute teacher inappropriately allowed student to use the container which had no
label; no evidence on record that Sarasin was not following safety procedures, and Sarasin's
responsive memo was not attached to the exhibit for the Board; Schaid called the memo
not clear that Sarasin was told that he was being disciplined;
10. Telling inappropriate graphic
violence stories to elementary students -- written reprimand
given, clearly disciplinary action;
11. Late to first hour class --
nothing disciplinary about this, memo states that Sarasin was
one minute late;
12. Student out of art class without
pass/students off task -- Sarasin explained that the
student was coming from another class and hadn't been to art class yet, but Schaid made no
that; nothing disciplinary in this matter;
13. Quarterly assessment forms --
Sarasin told not to allow students to make
self-assessments, correction or direction given but no discipline;
14. Failure to supervise students
and follow hall pass expectations -- not clearly identified as
being disciplinary in nature, although memo contains some threat of future discipline; Schaid
that Sarasin could conclude that this was a warning because a copy was sent to his personnel
15. Student injured by another
student -- again, not clearly disciplinary in nature although
memo contains a threat of future discipline; Schaid is vague about precise nature of memo,
discipline, also said it may be a warning, considered it discipline because it
called Sarasin's attention
to rules and regulations and asked him to adhere to them; nonsensical to chastise or
teacher for the conduct of the student; Sarasin had worked with the student who threw the
brush five minutes before he threw it; he could hardly watch everyone all the time and help
art projects too; no pattern of injuries on his watch;
16. Room cleanliness or
orderliness -- nothing disciplinary here; Schaid called his memo
"borderline disciplinary" at the arbitration hearing, something previously noted;
17. Lent District keys to students -- not
clearly disciplinary, although memo warns of future
discipline; no evidence that Sarasin ever loaned keys to anyone again; evidence shows
wide-spread in the school but no evidence that anyone else was disciplined about it;
18. Potential pass abuse/students off-task -- note the
"potential" in this incident, no showing
that there was any abuse by students when Sarasin left the book of passes on a work table,
real evidence that students were off task; not intended to be discipline;
19. Visitor allowed in class
without signing in at office -- minor correction and direction, not
Verbal insubordination to administrator --
the infamous chalk incident, noted above as probably
not disciplinary, suspect if it were because Sarasin followed the order to wash the chalk off
sidewalk; Schaid characterized this memo as a warning, but nothing shows that he told
Sarasin it was
disciplinary; he also said that Sarasin could grieve it if he assumed it was disciplinary; must
clear than to let the person receiving discipline have to make assumptions one way or the
Left classroom unsupervised -- this is an
unfair characterization of what happened, since Sarasin
asked the office to monitor his class and secretaries came down and monitored it; fact that
were not certified to teach is hardly fair to say that the class was not supervised at all; Schaid
that this was not disciplinary although language in memo contains threat of future
22. Swore at student -- nothing
condition/cleanliness/organization -- nothing disciplinary, improvement noted;
24. Late arrival to class -- the
record does not show whether Schaid told the Board that this
late arrival was 10 or 15 seconds and that Schaid had no knowledge of whether Sarasin had
been in the classroom but attempted to use the bathroom before the start of class; not
25. Verbal berating of student --
this was the yellow oil paint incident for which a written
reprimand was issued, clearly disciplinary;
26. Late arrival to class -- Schaid
saw Sarasin enter bathroom two minutes after class started,
27. Unprofessional behavior with
colleague -- the dispute between Arnevik and Sarasin over
sending students in late from math class; this incident is old, neither Arnevik nor Garfield
about it, not clearly disciplinary in nature, no evidence that it was disciplinary when issued
language in memo regarding what should happen in the event of another incident of
conduct, but just says that the author is writing to address concerns, no evidence of any
jokes/comments to students -- this was clearly disciplinary with a
written reprimand, no dispute about this one; no evidence of repetition;
29. Visitors to class without passes
-- nothing disciplinary, correction and direction given.
There are four disciplinary actions in the record over which there is no dispute.
be noted separately in short order. There are also seven other incidents which the District
disciplinary, mainly because they contain language in memos about the possibility of future
or more severe action, such as suspension, dismissal or non-renewal actions, should the
noted be repeated. The other 18 incidents cannot be characterized as disciplinary in
any fashion. The seven incidents that are questionable are numbers 9 - 14 - 15 - 17 -
20 - 21 - and
27. The Arbitrator would ordinarily agree with the District that when someone is given
as these, reasonable employees would consider themselves to have been disciplined or
problem is that the District has been inconsistent and unclear. For example, despite the
threatening future discipline in #21, Schaid testified that it was NOT
disciplinary. On #27, there is
nothing to show that it was discipline or that it was intended to be so. And on #15
Schaid said this
was disciplinary because it called Sarasin's attention to the rules, and that it
MAY be a warning. On
#14, Schaid said it was disciplinary, that Sarasin could conclude that this was a warning
was copied to the personnel file.
Disciplinary actions must be known to the individual being disciplined, not just the
is doing the disciplining. Discipline cannot be secret. And if one even has to ask the
whether or not it is a disciplinary action at some later date, the action is too ambiguous.
The disciplinary actions in Sarasin's record are accordingly the following:
May 1992 - told lewd jokes -- written reprimand
November 1992 - berated wrong student -- written reprimand
January 1996 - scared elementary students -- written reprimand
May 1996 - swore at student -- one-day suspension
January 1997 - the potter's wheel incident -- three-day suspension
That's all there is in the record that is clearly disciplinary, before the non-renewal --
those five events
-- two of them going back five years before the non-renewal, a gap of four years with no
documented, and one incident the month before the non-renewal. The weight of the 1992
actions are diminished by being more remote in time, but more importantly, by the fact that
did not repeat such behaviors. Given the fact that January 1997 suspension cannot withstand
of just cause, there are only four things to look at -- the two in 1992 and the two in 1996. It
becomes obvious that a non-renewal action would be a very excessive penalty.
While Schaid believes that Sarasin intentionally or willfully finds new ways to violate
policies and rules, it is just as likely that Schaid continually finds new ways to chastise
Sarasin -- or
call his attention to his flaws. If Sarasin reports that a student hit another student, it is
Sarasin's fault. If a student is injured when Sarasin is not even there, it is still Sarasin's
noted previously, these are two smart people, both capable in their own ways, even capable
all the things of which they accuse each other, but they are so very different in their style.
the non-renewal of a teacher's contract is a supreme penalty to pay for not marching in step
principal's tune all the time. The District sets the rules and Sarasin must follow them. The
clearly shows that Schaid set out personal goals, such as cleanliness of classrooms, and ran a
ship than his predecessor in some areas, such as hall passes and visitors' passes and lending
students. There is nothing wrong with changing the rules or enforcing the rules that are
When Schaid asked Sarasin to tighten up the ship, Sarasin did. He stopped many of the
he had previously done, such as letting students take their projects to the kiln room
during class time,
or lending keys to students. Sarasin understands that Schaid gives the orders and he is to
them. He has tried to conform to Schaid's demands. There is nothing in the record to show
Sarasin cannot be rehabilitated to meet the District's needs.
There is some disparate treatment in the incident of the student hit by another
students were injured in gym and technical education, without any discipline of the teacher.
Sarasin's case, the injury to a student was caused by another student, and Sarasin was
not keeping an eye on the student who threw a roller brush. All the teachers who taught in
settings or shop settings agreed that it was impossible to keep all students in their line of
sight at all
times. While Schaid believes that Sarasin's loose classroom management style allows
freedom to throw things, there is no evidence to that. This was an isolated incident,
one student on another student, and the student who threw the roller brush was a student who
not been a problem in the past.
The more glaring example of disparate treatment is that when Sarasin reprimanded a
and swore at her, he was given a one-day suspension. When Klaeser swore at students, he
to apologize to the class. When he continued to use profanity (two incidents), he was given
suspension but allowed to teach and get counseling for anger management, and the
never imposed. There were no options for Sarasin's use of profanity directed toward a
Other teachers have sworn at students, and they admit that in the heat of the moment, it
but they would not have used such language upon reflection (example -- Voskuil and the
the rocket). Other teachers have also loaned keys to students, left certain students
times, had students "off-task" at times, let students go some places without passes, and had
The only other potential non-renewal actions that were being contemplated by the
involved teachers who had physically hurt students. One kicked a student in the
groin and damaged
his testicles, another was physically aggressive with students. Both resigned rather than face
non-renewal action. Whatever Sarasin's deeds or misdeeds, nothing rose to the level of
abuse. Klaeser got suspended in 1995 for excessive physical force with a student, and had
problems involving profanity, but he was allowed to get counseling and one suspension was
The Association is correct when it states that it is not possible to say what the Board
have decided if it understood that most of the 29 incidents brought to its attention were not
disciplinary actions but only correction or direction, or that it would be unclear to an
whether or not some of those were discipline. Also, the Board had Schaid's attached letters
all of Sarasin's responses. The process before the Board itself lacked elements of
fairness. When one looks at the whole record, it should look at the whole
record, including the
employee's side of a dispute. The record is not just the incidents that Schaid wishes to note,
is also 15 years worth of service. It is a successful art program taught by a talented and
who can inspire young people into a career path they may never have seen before. If Sarasin
appeared late to class (by a few seconds) on a couple of occasions, was he generally on
days a week, for the last 15 years? If Sarasin turned in lesson plans late a couple of
times, was he
generally on time, for 15 years? There were no injuries to students under his watch
because of him
-- the record shows that one student hit another with a roller brush, and one student sniffed
Sparex fumes on a day when Sarasin wasn't even there and a substitute teacher should not
the student use Sparex. These are not the signs of a reckless, careless, indifferent
was plenty of testimony that Sarasin was careful and made students very aware of any
The record does not show the kind of proven and serious misconduct that would
severe disciplinary action of non-renewal of a teaching contract. The two disciplinary
1992 and the two from 1996 would not give the District just cause to non-renew Sarasin's
employment contract. Accordingly, the District did not have just cause for the non-renewal
Nothing in this Award should be interpreted to say that Sarasin has carte blanche to
Schaid's orders. These are both clever people capable of driving each other crazy. They are
capable of performing their respective positions with great competence. Whether they can
together in the future is questionable. However, the Grievant is entitled to a make whole
where the District lacked just cause to suspend him for three days and to non-renew his
employment contract, and such a remedy will be ordered.
The grievances are both sustained. The District did not have just cause
to suspend Russell
Sarasin for three days as a consequence of his conduct during second hour art class on
1997. The District did not have just cause to non-renew the individual employment contract
Russell Sarasin for the 1997-98 school year.
The District is ordered to immediately offer to Russell Sarasin reinstatement to his
position or a substantially equivalent position and to make him whole for all lost wages and
by paying to him a sum of money that he would have earned but for the three-day suspension
non-renewal of his contract, less any amount of money that he earned elsewhere.
The Arbitrator will retain jurisdiction over this matter until October 30,
1998, solely for the
purpose of resolving any disputes over the scope and the application of the remedy ordered.
Dated at Elkhorn, Wisconsin this 30th day of July, 1998.
Karen J. Mawhinney, Arbitrator