Thompson v. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
In Thompson v. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 197 Wis. 2d 688, 541 N.W.2d 182 (Ct. App. 1995), DPI revoked Thompson's teaching license based on statutory revocation provisions and corresponding portions of the administrative code. See id. at 696.
The relevant statute allowed revocation of a teaching license for immoral conduct. See Wis. Stat. 118.19(5) (1989-90). Wisconsin Admin. Code PI 3.04(1)(a) (1989) defined immoral conduct as "conduct or behavior which is contrary to commonly accepted moral or ethical standards." Wisconsin Admin. Code PI 3.04(2)(a) (1989) allowed revocation of a teaching license "for immoral conduct if there is clear and convincing evidence that the person engaged in the immoral conduct and there is a nexus between the immoral conduct and the health, welfare, safety or education of any pupil."
In Thompson, the Court concluded that "due weight," not "great weight," was the appropriate deference to be given to the superintendent's revocation of a teacher's license based on the teacher's immoral conduct and the nexus between that conduct and "the health, welfare, safety or education of any pupil." See Thompson, 197 Wis. 2d at 698.
In doing so, the Court merged the superintendent's two determinations:
(1) that the teacher engaged in "immoral conduct"; and;
(2) that the conduct had the required nexus to "the health, welfare, safety or education of any pupil." See id.
In Thompson, because the superintendent had had substantial experience in addressing nexus questions, but no experience in applying the role model standard to a nexus question, and because that latter element was the one on appeal, we concluded that "due weight" deference would be appropriate. See Thompson, 197 Wis. 2d at 698-99.