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A Facebook page caused outrage Friday by naming Kenosha Unified School District teachers who called in sick Monday.

The Kenosha County Eye, which is not affiliated with the Racine County Eye, posted screenshots of the names of every teacher who called in sick on Monday. More than 276 teachers had done so. 

This high number of absences was partly due to a protest/strike among KUSD teachers.

“The Kenosha Teachers Union (KEA) planned and executed a ‘strike,’ the post reads. “Here is a list of all of the teachers that were absent Monday. Note: Of course, some had very valid reasons to call in. Some did not. Funeral leave is redacted. We received this list from a resident.”

Result of five records requests

The Uptown Observer received a screenshot of an email sent to KUSD staff Friday night from a source who wished to remain anonymous.

In the email sent at 10:10 p.m., Superintendent Sue Savaglio-Jarvis said that five separate public records requests triggered the release.

“For example, a request was made for ‘the names of the 276 teachers who were reported absent this Monday, September 21st,’” Savaglio-Jarvis said. “Other requests were more specific or more broad.” 

The requests were processed in their usual way, she said. The district then sought legal counsel regarding their obligation concerning the request.

The district is bound by the state’s Public Records Law, she said. This leaves “a presumption that, except as otherwise provided by law, all of the District’s records are subject to disclosure.”

Therefore, KUSD released the names to satisfy the public records requests. 

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‘Please understand’

“The District did not disclose any confidential or personal medical information regarding its employees. The records disclosed contained only the names and the categories of leave taken by the employees on the particular days. Such information is not confidential or otherwise exempt from disclosure under the LAW.”

She closed by stating that the district understands that “this situation has been stressful, frustrating and challenging for staff, students, and families.” 

“Please understand,” she said, “that the District has legal obligations that would not allow the District to withhold his information from the public.” 

Sue Savaglio-Jarvis, KUSD superintendent

Calls against KUSD online

Facebook was full of comments about the KUSD situation Friday night.

Many focused on the legality of KUSD releasing the teachers’ names. The district’s choice to do so at all, regardless of legality, sparked outrage in others.  

Others called for citizens to show up en masse to the KUSD School Board’s next meeting on Tuesday.

Kenosha County Eye

The source of Friday’s outrage is truly a mystery.

As of Saturday morning, the Kenosha County Eye Facebook page and its content were no longer available. Credit: Screenshot.

The Kenosha County Eye page has no affiliation to the Racine County-based Racine County Eye.

The page took issue with Kenosha activists leading up to Friday’s offending post. 

The owner of the page refused to identify themself to The Uptown Observer in a message exchange Friday night. The owner would only reply, “You got it”, before attempting casual conversation.  

As of 9:20 a.m. Saturday, either Facebook or the page owner had removed the page.

Post shared by Republican Party of Kenosha County

The Republican Party of Kenosha Facebook page on Friday shared a post by the Kenosha County Eye listing the names of all of the Kenosha Unified School District teachers who called in sick Monday. Credit: Screenshot.

The Republican Party of Kenosha County page has consistently shared content from the Kenosha County Eye page. This included a post concerning koozies that were anti-Black Lives Matter, and the post naming KUSD teachers.

County Board Supervisor Erin Decker is the owner of the Republican Party of Kenosha Facebook page.

Decker has made headlines herself recently. At the Sept. 15 Kenosha County Board meeting, Decker turned her back on constituents for more than two hours.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

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Daniel Thompson is an independent journalist and the founder of The Uptown Observer based in the Kenosha, Wis., area. He started in journalism at the Western Nebraska Observer in 2012 and, most notably,...