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June 16, 2019

5/17/2019 10:52:00 AM
Barneveld teacher gets huge support from the community
J. Patrick Reilly
Editor/Co-Publisher

If anyone wondered what the people packing the high school IMC room at Barneveld last Wednesday were there for they only had to wait until one of the speakers asked the big question.
"How many of you are here to support Duane Elfering?" Dave Karls asked. He got his answer when the entire gathering stood up.
Barneveld is a small community and when something happens in a small community it doesn't take long for most everyone to hear about it.
While it was never stated what happened and why the show of support was necessary it appears there was a discipline problem in Elfering's classroom that the offending student did not feel was proper. Superintendent Brett Stousland told the gathering the board has been finding the facts and they are not at liberty to discuss the matter.
But they could listen as the public gathered to comment.
Jim Ramos started the discussion and asked why everyone was sitting in the room and could not talk about the situation.
Board president Tami Bowser said there is student confidentiality and there is a review underway.
Ramos then said, "We all know about what is going on and we all want to talk about it."
"This is a personnel issue and we don't talk about that in a public meeting," Bowser said.
Stousland entered in by saying, "This is not a hearing and we are not going into closed session for a hearing.  You can say good things about the teacher but be careful with names. We are not making a decision on someone's fate tonight. If anything is shared it would be through due process and we realize in a small community you hear things. The board is considering the evidence that has been collected."
Ramos replied by saying, "We are a society of wimps. Teachers and administrators used to be able to discipline but now you can't do anything."
"When I was a kid in school if you got in trouble at school you got it when you got home," he said. "I wish teachers could discipline and if parents are not willing to discipline we tie the teachers' hands."
"He has done excellent things for a lot of people," Ramos continued. "I am disgusted that you can't discipline and that your hands are tied. It is very disappointing and it is getting worse every day."
A former student at Barneveld and current tech ed teacher in the Middleton/Cross Plains school district, said he has been teaching for 19 years and he attributes that to the teacher in question.
"There is not a teacher in the building that puts in the time and dedication this teacher does," Dimpfl said. "I love to teach and we have kids who come to school here and are in his classes because of the relationships he builds."
Lee Pollock, who has worked with Elfering on a veteran's project at the state veterans camp said people love to go to his class.
"Many teachers want to work with the college bound but he is concerned with those who are not. He realizes that and works his tail off to help them," Pollock said.
"Discipline is so important," Pollock added. "When a student laughs in your face and at your authority it is not right."
"You need this man," he concluded.
Karls reminded everyone all the good things Elfering has done for the school and the community.
"You have to take in account his dedication to the community," he said. "A majority of students would be harmed considerably if he was not able to be here and do the great things he does."
"He is the best tech ed teacher who ever came out of our district," Karls continued. "What he does for his program is outstanding."
Former student Logan Rue said he did not know Elfering before he took his class.
"He has been a very important influence on my life," Rue added.
Bob Messinger said he has worked with Elfering on funding for his program and has spent considerable time in his classroom.
'There is not a tech ed teacher around who can keep up with him," Messinger said. "He takes on all students not because they are that smart but because he is that smart. He teaches skills needed for critical thinking and doing things on your own."
Messinger told about a 7th grade student who was taking part in a class project on building a model car. He was trying to figure out how to make his car go two mph faster.
"He figured it out and felt he needed a different tire so he went to Duane who smiled and went and ordered the new tire," Messinger said.
Ed Bures said he has served as a substitute teacher in Barneveld as well as other districts and said he felt discipline in Barneveld has not been the issue he has seen in other districts.
"We can set some standards for these kids," he said. "As a board, administration, community, we need to keep kids from disrespecting and help the kids who want to learn."
The board then went into closed session.
In the early part of the meetingt the board elected officers for the next year. Tami Bowser returns as president with Brad Zander vice president, Amy Hugill clerk and Rhonda Mullin treasurer.
Two new hires were presented to the board and approved. Contracts will be issued to Tanner Gibbons for middle school science and Brenda Schiessl for special education.
The board spent considerable time looking over several policies and discussed breaking a tie for valedictorian for a policy that underwent its first reading. They also discussed the presence of animals on school grounds both as part of a learning unit and as a service animal.
Also discussed was a policy on the mission statement. Further discussion will take place at future meetings.
Stousland updated the board on the construction project and also the state of the budget. He said reported revenues are up a little and in response to a question from new board member Peter Shatrawka said the district is serving less meals but that being looked at for the reason why.





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