RHINELANDER - Students walked out of classes at Rhinelander High School Wednesday morning.
Their protest? The potential firing of four RHS teachers.
Facing a budget tightened by $2 million dollars, Blaine Obey, Angela Schaffer, Michael Velis, and Kim DeBuhr were notified they would be laid off at the end of the year.
“The teachers that are getting fired, if they did what we’re doing right now, they’d be fired instantly. So they know that they have someone that will stick up for them," said Dalton Rose, an RHS student.
Students told Newswatch 12 the effect the teachers have had on them goes beyond the classroom.
"Mrs. Schaffer always listens to our personal problems, even though she doesn't have to. She could just teach us, but no, she takes the time to actually listen to us and help us," said student Dani Hageny.
Some say the teachers, while not promoting this specific protest, instilled in them the idea of standing for their values.
“They teach us to stand up for what we believe in and have a voice," said student Haleen Guth.
Oneida County Detective Sergeant Phil Newcomb, who works with the school district, was one of the staff scrambling to get the students back to school.
“Stop protesting," Newcomb told the students while they occupied the public sidewalk outside the school. "There’s a peaceful way to protest, but this is not the way.”
School administration is still considering punishment options for involved students.
Principal Paul Keats sent a letter to high school parents saying he could not “allow students to disrupt the educational environment.”
“Mr. Keats and I are working closely with the appropriate people to find the appropriate response, not to have a knee jerk response...fines are not going to come, and possible punishments are still being considered," said RHS Associate Principal David Ditzler.
While no fines may come from the school itself, multiple students and parents told Newswatch 12 Wednesday afternoon that some received citations from the Sheriff’s Department with fines attached.
But students said the walkout today, which included more than 50 participants, was a definite success.
“We hope it keeps the teachers that actually appreciate us. We appreciate them," said student Dani Hageny.
MADISON - A federal appeals court has upheld Republican Gov. Scott Walker's public union restrictions.
The restrictions stripped most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights. Two unions representing city of Madison and Dane County public workers filed a lawsuit in 2011 alleging the law violated their right to freely assembly and equal protection.
U.S. District Judge William Conley found the restrictions constitutional in September. A three-judge appeals panel affirmed Conley's ruling Friday, saying the U.S. Constitution doesn't require the state to maintain policies that allow certain associations to thrive.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen calls the ruling ``a victory for the law and for Wisconsin taxpayers.''
An attorney for the unions tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he needs to talk to his clients before deciding whether to appeal.
MERRILL - When you think of movies you probably think of Hollywood, but one man from Northcentral Wisconsin is bringing his feature film to the local screen.
Wausau’s Jarrod Crooks not only makes movies, but he also stars in them.
His latest film, "Dispatched" is based off the Elvis Presley movie, “Girl Happy,” says filmmaker Jarrod Crooks. “My character Jake is sent to go watch my bosses daughter while she’s on vacation with a friend. Then an old enemy is kind of after him while he’s on vacation, so some things happen.”
Crooks made, "Dispatched" on a $5,000 budget and it’s full of romance, action, and comedy.
“My buddy would joke with me, ‘why don’t you just pick one genre man and then just go with it'," says Crooks. "I’m like because I want to make this movie how I want to make It'." "I actually like romantic comedies, I think they’re kind of fun, and I think they’re cute. I like action films because I’m a guy, and I like comedy because Jim Carey is great.”
Crooks is only 28 and has already made 4 feature films. His passion started when he was 12 years old.
“I went over to my friend’s house and he had a video camera. I was like oh we should make a movie, and at that time I was really into, “Wishbone,” says Crooks.
“We’d always remake our own literature pieces. Then I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and I’m like, alright it’s settled we’re doing action films from now on," says Crooks. “From then on it was just a love affair with the filmmaking.”
His latest film will be shown at the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill on Saturday at 5pm.
“The fact that I’m bringing it to central Wisconsin is great because this is where I grew up," says Crooks. "All my family and friends get to see it, so I’m very excited about that and you get to see yourself on the big screen what’s better than that.”
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