School District of Beloit's acting assistant superintendent linked to misconduct incident

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BELOIT - A top School District of Beloit administrator was promoted twice after being disciplined for inappropriately touching a female teacher, according to records obtained by the Beloit Daily News.

Anthony Bosco was principal of McNeel School when a complaint was made regarding his conduct at an educational conference in Green Lake, Wisconsin, in 2013. Details of the incident are found in a May 17, 2013, letter to Bosco from former Executive Director of Personnel Services Todd Cabelka.

On May 9, 2013, Bosco self-reported he had consumed too many drinks and may have committed some acts of indiscretion while under the influence.

On May 10, Cabelka met with a female teacher who alleged Bosco inappropriately pinched or touched her buttocks on at least two occasions during the evening in question. She informed Cabelka she had told Bosco to stop both times, but possibly due to his intoxication, she said Bosco seemed not to comprehend what she was saying. Days later, the woman said, Bosco texted her stating he heard rumors she had a picture of him passed out at that bar and Bosco requested she delete the photo.

She then told Cabelka the events impacted her health and made her uncomfortable around Bosco, and requested Bosco limit contact with her and no longer serve as her teaching evaluator.

Although two witnesses could not verify whether Bosco engaged in the offensive touching, both did say Bosco had become intoxicated and passed out at the bar at least once during the evening and vomited behind a vehicle. When at the hotel, they said Bosco collapsed on the floor and the female teacher who made the complaint had to assist him back to his room where he passed out due to intoxication.

Based upon his review, Cabelka wrote that Bosco more than likely engaged in the unwanted physical contact and directed Bosco to have an evaluation for alcohol dependency. He was then suspended from employment for one day without pay - provided he undergo alcohol evaluation - at the discretion of then-Superintendent Steve McNeal.

Although Cabelka had strong words for Bosco in the letter - saying nothing can make one fall from grace faster than inappropriate conduct and loss of respect among colleagues - disciplinary measures did not go any further. Neither was the school board at the time made aware of the incident.

Former school board member John Acomb, who served from 2007 to 2016, told the newspaper the incident was never brought to the attention of the full board. Given the gravity of the situation, Acomb said the board should have been informed. Former school board member Nora Gard, who served from 2011-2017, also confirmed the board was not told of Bosco's misconduct.

Bosco continued as principal until June 30, 2017, when he was promoted to become the Director of Bilingual and English Language Learning programming with a start date of July 1, 2017. At the time of this promotion Tom Johnson was superintendent. McNeal left in January of 2015.

At the Nov. 14, 2017 board meeting, Bosco was promoted again when the board approved him to be Interim Assistant Superintendent for Administration, Operations and Equity for a salary of $71,701.

Again, board members asked to approve the promotion were not told of Bosco's disciplinary record.

The assistant superintendent position had been vacated by Darrell Williams, who was named interim superintendent when Johnson was put on a leave of absence prior to resigning from the district. Williams was appointed interim superintendent on Nov. 2.

Contacted by the newspaper, Williams issued the following statement on his confidence in Bosco's ability to lead.

"From my understanding, Mr. Bosco self-reported this incident in May 2013. This incident was swiftly addressed by the previous Superintendent in May 2013. After disciplinary action by the previous Superintendent, Steve McNeal, Mr. Bosco was allowed to remain in his position as a principal. Prior to this incident, and since this incident four plus years ago, there are no records of any other infractions of this nature and his performance as an administrator has been stellar. More so, as a result of his performance, Mr. Bosco was promoted to the position of Director of Bilingual Services under Superintendent Johnson's leadership. Most recently, due to unforeseen leadership changes within the district administration and because of his leadership skill set, Mr. Bosco was asked to serve as the Interim Assistant Superintendent of Administration, Operations and Equity. Therefore, I am confident in Mr. Bosco's ability to lead and to serve in his present interim position."

When Williams was asked why he didn't inform the board of Bosco's disciplinary record, he said it was assumed the previous board had been made aware of it at the time of the incident in May 2013 and had an opportunity to provide input into the decision to allow him to remain in his position after being disciplined by McNeal. Williams said the issue was not raised and did not appear to be a concern in the recent hiring of Bosco as the Director of Bilingual Services under Superintendent Tom Johnson.

"I am not aware if Dr. Johnson made the current board aware of this past incident during the hiring process. However, I support Dr. Johnson's decision and I am confident in Mr. Bosco's ability to lead and to serve in his temporary position," Williams said.

Bosco submitted the following letter: "To Whom it May Concern, I have lived in Beloit most of my life and for the past 16 years, have been employed by the School District of Beloit as a teacher, coach and administrator. My time as an educator in Beloit has been filled with glorious, memorable days involving the important work of serving our students, our families and our staff with the kind of love, compassion, energy and intense devotion it takes to make a positive difference in our schools and the Beloit community. While my time in Beloit has been memorable and fulfilling, it has not been perfect. As an administrator and as a person, I accept responsibility for the mistake I made in April of 2013 and have learned from that isolated incident. I remain committed to providing academic excellence for our students and instructional leadership for our staff, as I continue to strive to be an exemplary leader in the School District of Beloit. Furthermore, I am thankful for the district administration's continued confidence in my leadership abilities. As a father, husband and school administrator, I will continue to work hard to serve my family and the School District of Beloit in any way I can. My family and I appreciate your prayers and support and we will continue to live and serve BeloitProud!"

When Board of Education President Laurie Endres was asked whether the board would reconsider Bosco's status after learning about the 2013 incident, she said the board received a legal update on the matter in closed session in the Jan. 9 special board meeting.

"The board of education is committed to providing a positive, fair workplace environment for all staff. We will continue to work to ensure all policies, investigations and disciplinary actions reflect our values and mission statement as a district. As board president I want to encourage all staff to report any incidents to the human resources department," Endres said.

The board also will review the district's sexual harassment policy and procedures for reporting at the Jan. 23 school board meeting.

Endres was asked if the board will keep Bosco in his current role. She said, "yes."

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