Mount Horeb community reacts to teacher being put on administrative leave

Published: May. 22, 2017 at 2:11 PM CDT
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MOUNT HOREB, Wis. (WMTV) --- Olivia Jones remembers the days she went to Mount Horeb High School like it was yesterday.

One of the things she remembers most was the teacher of her social issues class, Ms. Maglio.

"A cheerleader for every group in high school," Jones explains. "She was an advocate for voices less heard in high school. She was really one of those people that stood out and made an experience memorable."

Sarah Fetter is another former student who says she's not just her favorite teacher.

"She's one of my favorite people," she says. "I just felt like I could go to her with anything, and I did. I talked to her about life, and she was always there to listen, and she would talk to me about her life, and I just felt like I knew her like as more than a teacher."

Not every former student feels the same, though. One graduate of 2016 who wishes to stay anonymous, says she didn't like the video played in Ms. Maglio's class.

"I felt as if it was a little too provocative, like, I get that she was showing us what we shouldn't do and how bad things could get, but some of the images were a little too intense," she says.

During a demonstration in support of Ms. Maglio Monday, a parent of two young boys in the district says. this is a video that boys in particular need to watch.

"Women are very underrepresented in leadership and elected," Laura Isaacson says. "Women, for whatever reason, don't feel confident or they may feel suppressed and they feel like they cannot aspire to those leadership positions. Boys need to learn how to respect women, how women should be properly treated."


MOUNT HOREB, Wis. (WMTV)—Dozens of students from Mount Horeb High School gathered on Monday morning in protest of a controversial decision made by the school district.

Students came dressed in black, and gathered outside the school’s front door showing support for a teacher placed on administrative leave.

The signs are for teacher Beth Maglio who teaches a class called, “Social Problems”. Students said this all began after the class watched a film called, “Miss Representations”. The film included graphic images of women in forced sexual situations.

In a letter from the district, a parent expressed concern over how this film was being used in the class. The district is investigating, but students feel placing Maglio on administrative leave wasn’t necessary. The school district said this is unfair to both the student and Mrs. Maglio. While they agree there was a lesson, they must investigate the intentions of showing the film and whether more resources were needed for students who may have been uncomfortable.

Copyright 2017: WMTV

Statement from Jennifer Sibel Newsom on the displinary action taken against Mount Horeb teacher for showing, "Miss Representation":

"I am shocked that a high school teacher, Beth Maglio, was disciplined for screening and discussing my film, Miss Representation, with her class in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin. The film exposes how mainstream media contributes to the underrepresentation of women and girls in positions of power and influence. She was right to turn the lens on harmful gender norms in media and have an open discussion encouraging media literacy. I am incredulous that a school would punish her, but I am encouraged to see that the Mt. Horeb community is rallying around Ms. Maglio. She deserves our respect and support."


Statement from Domestica Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS):

"DAIS (Domestic Abuse Intervention Services) was dismayed to hear the news that a Mt. Horeb educator has been placed on administrative leave as the school district launches an investigation stemming from this teacher showing the well-known, award winning documentary, “Miss Representation” to her Social Issues class. The film in question uses footage from mainstream media (such as network television and popular movies), to uncover how the representation of women and girls in the media contributes to the continued underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.  The documentary filmmaker, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, is nationally known for her work and was the keynote speaker to over 600 attendees at our luncheon last June to discuss her more recent film, “The Mask You Live In,” which follows young boys and men as they navigate the narrow definitions of masculinity in our culture. We commend this educator for creating spaces for her students to discuss these important issues as they are foundational to understanding a culture that perpetuates unhealthy relationships. If our communities are sincere about addressing the root cause of issues such as dating and domestic violence, it is imperative that we provide youth with an understanding of how media shapes a culture which allow these issues to thrive, as well as provides them with tools to critically analyze the media they are consuming."