Janesville teachers and their supporters expressed outrage this week after an anonymous group distributed fliers listing their salaries and urging parents to request their child be assigned to a "non-radical teacher" next year.
The fliers, which included the names, titles and salaries of the 321 highest-paid Janesville teachers, also urged readers to go to iverifytherecall.com to determine if the teachers signed the petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker.
Orville Seymer, an open records specialist with the conservative Milwaukee-based activist organization Citizens for Responsible Government, said the group responsible for the flier has asked to remain anonymous "for obvious reasons."
On behalf of the anonymous group, Citizens for Responsible Government filed an open records request with the Janesville School District seeking teacher names, salaries and titles. Seymer provided the information to the anonymous group, but was not involved in drafting or distributing the fliers, he said. No other requests of a similar nature have been filed with other districts, Seymer added.
The flier angered teachers, who were already targeted by a flier earlier this year accusing them of having a "Marxist, globalist agenda," said Ted Lewis, regional union representative for Rock County teachers.
"It's trying to intimidate them and make them feel guilty for earning salaries," Lewis said. "They're creating this witch hunt for people who engaged in their civic duty."
Lewis said it was "ironic" that whoever distributed the fliers "very publicly posts the names of individuals and their salaries and yet he or she won't even divulge their identity."
Chris Kliesmet, executive administrator of Citizens for Responsible Government, said his organization isn't responsible for the content of the flier, but said it has raised the question about what's being taught in public schools.
"The question in the back of a lot of people's minds is, 'Are my children being indoctrinated?'" he said.
Lewis said feedback he's heard from the public indicates that people find the vilification of teachers "outrageous" and appreciate what public school teachers do.
"Everybody I've spoken to say teachers don't deserve this," Lewis said. "This is an attack against teachers, against public education."
The Janesville Gazette reported Tuesday that the flier was not distributed in newspapers, but instead was placed in newspaper boxes at private residences without the paper's permission. Janesville Police Deputy Chief Dan Davis said Tuesday distributing fliers in newspaper boxes is not against the law.