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Wisconsin lawmakers pass bill to punish pornography in schools

In April, we wrote about a piece of legislation being considered by Wisconsin lawmakers that would significantly increase penalties for teachers or other school officials who were found to have viewed pornography at school or on school district computers. Recently, that bill passed both the Senate and the state Assembly.

Watching adult pornography is legal and is certainly not considered a computer sex crime, although most workplaces would likely respond with disciplinary action to any employee who watches it on the job. However, Wisconsin teachers caught watching pornography could lose much more than just their job.

If the bill is signed into law, it will allow the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to revoke a teacher's license. Additionally, any teacher under investigation for violating the policy would also have their name posted on the school's website.

Under current law, a teacher's license may be revoked for "immoral conduct," but that is defined as any activity that endangers student health, safety, welfare or education. The new law would expand the definition to include pornographic material on school equipment, whether it be downloading, viewing or distributing it.

As we have previously written, the public treats allegations of sex crimes very seriously, especially anything resembling inappropriate conduct involving children. The drafting of this legislation and the widespread support for it could have been influenced by past instances in which teachers or school administrators were arrested for possessing child pornography.

While viewing adult pornography at work is not a sex crime, it is not difficult to see the hysteria that surrounds the issue of sex crimes involving children. Anyone accused or charged with such a crime can quickly lose much more than just their job or their reputation. That's why it is important to seek the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Wisconsin Bill Makes Watching Porn Reason To Revoke Teacher's License," Nov. 2, 2011

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