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Jeffco Teacher's Union Says Court Ruling 'Eviscerates Privacy Rights' Of Public Employees

By Mark Ackerman

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) - Two years after teachers at four Jefferson County high schools staged a sickout the school district has released the names of teachers absent on the days in question.

The move follows a court battle over a public information request submitted by Kathy Littlefield, a mother from Golden.

The list includes 38 teachers from Golden High School, 16 teachers from Conifer High School, 25 teachers from Jefferson High School and 26 teachers from Standley Lake High School who were absent during the sickout days in September of 2014.

CBS4 has decided not to publish the names because there is no differentiation between teachers who were sick for legitimate reasons and those who were sick as part of the protest.

Two years later Littlefield told CBS4 she still wanted the list because "I don't want my kids to have these teachers."

Statement From The Jefferson County Teacher's Union

"The Colorado Supreme Court declined to review JCEA's challenge to the Court of Appeals decision holding that the use of public employees leave time is not a part of the personnel file exemption and is therefore, subject to the Colorado Open Records Act. While we respect the Courts' decisions, we still hold the strong belief that the use of personal and sick leave is a personnel matter that should be kept confidential and not subject to disclosure. The challenged Open Records Act request served upon the District does not delineate between the educators who had that time approved or obtained medical documents for their absence from those who requested the sick leave the day of the request. Moving forward, all employees of the district need to understand that the use of personal and sick leave is no longer deemed a private matter and is open to public inspection. This is a blow to all public employees' privacy rights and CEA and JCEA remain committed to challenge open records requests that eviscerate their privacy rights to personal information maintained in their personnel files."

Scott Kwasny
Director of Communications and Field Operations
Jefferson County Education Association

Mark Ackerman is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. Follow him on Twitter @ackermanmark

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