Racine teacher turns down award from Rep. Ryan
Annie Scholz reports Video by tmj4.comvideo
RACINE - A teacher is creating quite a controversy after he refused to accept an award from Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) at a public event.
The event was an awards ceremony on Martin Luther King Day. The teacher was being honored for his humanitarian work.
He argues Rep. Ryan had no business being there, with his record on civil rights.
Racine teacher Al Levie, refusing a certificate from Representative Paul Ryan. A video of last week's event has hit the internet, and a few nerves.
"I knew that I didn't want to accept an award from Paul Ryan, yes," said teacher Al Levie.
The Racine Horlick High School teacher works with the NAACP and Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant rights group. Levie was being given a humanitarian award for that work at Gateway Technical College, when Rep. Ryan tried to present a separate certificate.
Levie said, "The NAACP, which is the oldest civil rights organization in the country, has given him an "F" rating for his voting record on civil rights issues, and for him to come up and give me a civil rights award, I didn't feel it was proper."
Rep. Ryan's camp claims it was Levie who took it too far. Rep. Ryan's spokesman didn't want to send a formal statement, but he did tell TODAY'S TMJ4 over the phone that Rep. Ryan has attended the event for years to honor the community and Dr. King, and it's unfortunate it had to turn political.
When asked if he would do it again, Levie said, "Oh yeah of course."
A spokesperson for Voces de la Frontera said they support Levie and what he did. Levie wanted to make it clear, he was not trying to insult the event, or the award from the college.