As the expression goes, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

BOISE — Rancor didn’t dominate last week’s legislative debate of education reform, but it certainly ate up a large chunk.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna on Tuesday morning discovered his truck vandalized, its tires slashed and his last name spray-painted and crossed out on its passenger side.

That came after Luna had to tell an unruly man claiming to be a teacher to leave his mother’s house a few days earlier. And later Tuesday, an off-duty police officer escorted a disruptive person away from a coffeehouse where Luna was making a television appearance.

In their entirety, the events meant that instead of talking about issues like student achievement and education standards, debate shifted for a brief spell to questions unrelated to Luna’s proposal — like whether union activism is to blame and whether it’s appropriate for Luna to classify some of the actions as “union thuggery.”

Much was said.

Luna urged the public not to cross the line of civility to involve his family members and damage his property. Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter criticized the harassment of Luna, stressing it’s not the Idaho way to commit such offenses when debating public policy.

The Idaho Education Association, the teachers’ union, denounced the incidents, but also took Luna to task for using the term “union thuggery.”

Luna didn’t back down, stressing he was referring only to the incident that involved his mother.

Debate shifted back to germane issues by Thursday, when the Senate Education Committee heard a final round of testimony on Luna’s reforms and sent the three bills to the Senate floor.

There, discussion re-discovered its home with education reform and questions about whether the bills should pass.