DENVER (CBS4)– Some teachers asked state lawmakers to protect them from doxxing, saying they are being terrorized by people trying to intimidate and retaliate. Doxxing is a practice of posting someone’s personal information online – like their full name, address, and phone number – with the intent of harassing them.
State law has already put anti-doxxing measures in place to protect people like healthcare workers, law enforcement, prosecutors, public defenders, and code enforcement officers. Teachers told the Senate Education Committee they should be included, too.
“It shocks me that I and fellow educators are subject to intimidation and threats for standing up for policies and principals that are at the core of our hearts as educators,” said Katherine Dorman, a Douglas County teacher for 27 years.
She says she never thought her job would put her safety at risk, “(I’m) worried that someone is going to follow me home, when they see me get into my car and find out where I live.”
Senator Jeff Bridges says it’s time the legislature stepped in to help educators, “Sadly the vitriol that we have seen consume far too many Coloradans is being turned toward our teachers.”
Bridges and Senator Kevin Priola were already planning to introduce a bill to prohibit doxing, not only teachers but, everyone who works in a school when the Douglas County School Board fired its superintendent, triggering a walkout by students and teachers. Some of the teachers found flyers on their cars telling them to “get out.” Then came an open records request for the names of all the teachers who had called in sick the day of the protest.
Bridges and Priola expanded the bill to exempt dates of absence from public release.
Senator Paul Lundeen objected, “When an individual chooses, as a political statement, a sick out, that is a political act. Why should that be hidden? Why should that be protected?”
President of the Colorado Education Association Amie Baca-Oehlert responded, “It does very much appear that request is in an effort to retaliate against those individuals for exercising something I do see as fundamental rights as Americans.”
Baca-Oehlert says Douglas County teachers aren’t the only ones under threat, “It’s something I hear almost on a daily basis.”
She says teachers are leaving in record numbers as a result. The Colorado Education Association did a survey that found two-thirds of Colorado’s teachers are thinking about resigning or retiring at the end of this school year, “If that isn’t a red flag that educators need help and protection, I don’t know what is.”
The bill passed the Senate Education Committee 6-1.