(The Center Square) – The Wisconsin Supreme Court is not going to stop a ruling that orders Mequon-Thiensville Schools to turn over a secret email list.
The high court this week refused an appeal from the school district that sought to keep the list from a former Mequon alderman who wanted to email parents and alumni.
The case started back in 2021 when former Alderman Mark Gierl sued Mequon-Thiensville Schools after the district sent an invitation to "The Talk: A Necessary Conversation on Privilege and Race with Our Children."
Gierl wanted to offer a counter point, but the school district said the email lists were private.
“Government records are our records,” Tom Kamenick, president and founder of the Wisconsin Transparency Project said at the time. “That goes for distribution lists government officials use to send out its preferred messages, as the Attorney General has advised for decades.”
An appeal court agreed with Gierl in December of last year.
This week, Kamenick said he is “glad the Supreme Court decided to leave the Court of Appeals decision in place.”
Mequon-Thiensville Schools, however, continue to promise to fight to keep the lists secret.
“Please understand we have exhausted all efforts to protect the release of your personal information. We stand firm in our belief that releasing your private email addresses does nothing to shine a light of transparency on our operations or communications, which is the intent and purpose of the Public Records Law. Nevertheless, in this case, the lower court and the Court of Appeals took issue with the MTSD’s use of the email distribution list to announce a voluntary virtual presentation on race relations following an incident in our community,” the school district said in a statement on its website.
There is still a pending case, and Kamenick hopes that judges will agree with all of the other courts in the earlier cases
“We hope the Court of Appeals reaches the same decision in the still-pending second case between my client and Mequon-Thiensville," Kamenick said.