UPDATE: Bevin issues statement in wake of condemnation from KY House
FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - In a rare off-the-cuff interview with reporters in Frankfort on Friday evening, Gov. Matt Bevin (R-Kentucky) said teachers who called in sick to protest put children's lives in danger.
"I'm offended by the idea that people so cavalierly, and so flippantly, disregarded what's truly best for children," Bevin said.
Now, politicians from both sides of the aisle have spoken out about Bevin's comments, and the Kentucky House officially gave him a condemnation.
Sunday afternoon, Bevin posted a video on his Facebook page explaining the comments.
"One of the other things that's clear about unintended consequences is sometimes the words that people say, the way in which they say it, or just the misunderstanding that comes from that also can have unintended consequences," Bevin said.
There were at least 44 school districts that closed because teachers called in sick to attend the rally. Thousands of educators swarmed the Capitol to call on legislators to override the governor's veto of the state budget and tax plan bill.
Educators want those bills to become law because they generate new revenue which will restore funding to public education -- funding that Bevin proposed cutting.
Protesters prevailed, as both the House and Senate voted to override Bevin's veto of the budget and tax plan.
As that reality started to sink in at the Capitol, the governor expressed his frustration to reporters about the teachers who called in sick to rally.
"You know how many hundreds of thousands of children today were left home alone?" Bevin asked. "I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them."
He added that children who were out of school "were harmed -- some physically, some sexually -- some were introduced to drugs for the first time because they were vulnerable and left alone."
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+ IMAGES: Teachers protest in Frankfort
Teachers got the blame, as Bevin said some single parents cannot afford childcare and cannot afford to take time off work to watch their children.
In our coverage area, police have not alerted us to any crimes against children being reported on Friday.
He also said there was foul language on signs carried by protesting teachers.
"This is the example that we want to send to our children, really?" Bevin asked incredulously. "Is this what's encouraged in classrooms?"
It is worth noting -- in our coverage of the multiple rallies hosted by teachers in Frankfort, WAVE 3 News reporters did not see teachers carrying any signs with foul language.
The Kentucky Democratic Party issued the following statement following Gov. Bevin's comments:
“It’s entirely inappropriate and perverse that the man sitting in the governorship would criticize Kentuckians who stood up today for teachers, public employees and our public education by insinuating that their presence in Frankfort today caused a child to be sexually assaulted,” Kentucky Democratic Executive Director Mary Nishimuta said. “His insults of teachers over the last year have been beneath the decorum of any respectable elected official. This rhetoric has crossed a line. As a mother, suggesting children were abused as a prop for his political rhetoric is disturbing and absurdly in poor taste.”
The Kentucky Senate Democratic Caucus issued this statement on Saturday regarding Gov. Bevin's comments:
“The statements made by Governor Bevin yesterday insinuating that Kentucky teachers are somehow responsible for sexual assault, drug addiction, and neglect is reprehensible and repugnant. Time and time again we hear this demeaning rhetoric spewed, attacking our public educators and public employees. The Kentucky Senate Democratic Caucus condemns these types of demeaning and degrading statements directed at our teachers and public employees by the Governor.”
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