Wis. Protests: Districts Naming Teachers Who Called in Sick

Conservative groups make public records requests
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2011 12:25 PM CDT
A sign supporting teachers is taped to the railing above a stairway in the state capitol February 23, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Conservative groups are asking for the names of teachers who called in sick during the Wisconsin protests earlier this year, and most districts that were asked have released the names. The Madison School District, however, has denied several of the public records requests, fearing for the safety of its teachers, and the state’s largest teachers union asked a judge to halt the release of names in two other districts. Presumably, such records are open to the public under the state’s open records law unless the government determines otherwise, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.

Teachers who called in sick during the protests against Scott Walker’s anti-union bill caused many districts to close for a day or more, but Madison’s legal counsel says his district was the only one to shut down for four days, “so the anger and the rhetoric is very heated here” and there have been “a number of threats.” One parent was charged with a misdemeanor after allegedly leaving a voicemail on a middle school's main number threatening to “come down there and punch you guys right in the face.” But the head of one conservative think tank says taxpayers have the right to know, and adds that “no one really believes that someone would use the information to do something that crosses the line.”

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