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Fox Point-Bayside extends administrator contract

Some parents wanted Boechler out over her 1990s case in Tosa

Jan. 17, 2012
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By Tom Tolan and Amy Rabideau Silvers of the Journal Sentinel

Jan. 17, 2012 0

The Fox Point-Bayside School Board extended the contract for the district's superintendent Monday night after fielding calls for her resignation.

School Board President Michael Weiss said in a statement Tuesday that the board voted, 4-0, to approve the extension of "all administrative contracts," including that of Superintendent Rachel Boechler.

At issue is a decision that Boechler made in the early 1990s when, as a guidance counselor for Wauwatosa East, she did not report the sexual relationship between a female student and a teacher at the school.

The Fox-Point-Bayside board was aware of the case when it hired Boechler. Details of that case became more widely known after a Journal Sentinel column by Daniel Bice was published this month.

"It is important to remember that the Wauwatosa School District handled this matter according to its own procedures 20 years ago, and we have been advised that Dr. Boechler did report the matter to her supervisor at the time," Weiss wrote. "With a much better understanding of the facts than we have today, the Wauwatosa School District chose to take no disciplinary action against Dr. Boechler. . . .

"Dr. Boechler came to us highly recommended by her previous employers, and she has not disappointed us."

The School Board heard more than an hour of comments from the public and then voted to extend Boechler's contract and the others.

About 18 parents held their own meeting before the School Board met Monday night.

Luise Fuzy said she began doing her own research after reading the Journal Sentinel column.

"I went back and read all the federal court records that weren't sealed," Fuzy said. "I read every fact I could find, and it took me two or three hours."

It also left her wondering about the board's decision to hire Boechler.

Bice reported that in the early 1990s, a student privately told Boechler that she had a two-year sexual relationship with a popular English teacher at the school.

According to a 1993 sworn deposition obtained by the Journal Sentinel, Boechler said she thought the student was older than she actually was and explained that the student gave "the impression that this was a - a normal developing, typical relationship between an 18-year-old and a slightly older man."

"I knew the school system would expect me to report that, so I struggled with my responsibility to the student as my client vs. my responsibility to the system," Boechler said in the deposition.

The teacher in the Wauwatosa case, Andrew Herriges, was sentenced to nine months for having sexual intercourse with a child older than 16. The district and its insurers settled a federal lawsuit with the student for $535,000.

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