Madison West Spanish teacher gets her job back after student outcry

Madison West Spanish Teacher Protest
Madison West students protest a decision to remove a Spanish teacher from her class after she wanted to continue to teach remotely (WISC-TV/Channel3000)

MADISON, Wis. — A Spanish teacher who was removed from her class at Madison West High School is being allowed to teach her class remotely again after an outcry from her students and colleagues.

‘Profe’ Deana Zorko will once again be allowed to teach her high school Spanish language and literature classes at West High using a virtual platform effective Monday, October 11, according to a statement from her attorney and Madison Teachers, Inc.

“I am so proud of my students using their voice to speak up for their education. I feel humbled by their support and the support of members of the community who have advocated for this outcome. I love teaching at West, I love my students and can’t wait to see everyone in class on Monday. Let’s get back to la clase de español!” Zorko said in a statement through her attorney.

Zorko, a double-organ transplant recipient, wanted to continue to teach her classes virtually from home as a precaution, even though Madison schools are now in-person five days per week. The district removed her from the Spanish and literature classes last week and moved her to the district’s all-virtual academy.

Since Zorko was removed, students had been given an online learning program as a replacement. The move prompted walk-outs by students in support, demanding the district allow her to continue teaching the classes.

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The district said Zorko had originally applied to the online position last year and was accepted. Zorko’s attorney says she had worked to continue teaching at West, but the district revoked the option.

Zorko’s attorney says the district’s new agreement to allow her to return on October 11 is only a temporary solution, and the district has not yet agreed to allow her to remain teaching virtually at West for the second semester.