Education Commissioner addresses teacher sickouts

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – There was anger and threatened lawsuits after the state asked for the names of the teachers in ten public school districts who called out sick and forced districts to cancel classes.

The state education commissioner, Wayne Lewis, tried to clarify his intentions.

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The commissioner started by saying teachers have a right to have their voices heard and protest, but they do not have the right to call out sick when they are not.

Within the last two weeks, some districts have lost six days of school.

The commissioner says making these requests does not mean he is trying to take disciplinary action.



Right now, he says he’s gathering information to find a solution that benefits the teachers and the students.

An attorney notified the State Education Department that he’s preparing to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state for what he calls the “unprecedented interference” with the teachers’ rights.

The Kentucky Education Association also released a statement following the news conference.

It says, “This tactic serves only one purpose – to intimidate educators, public employees, school board members, and superintendents across the Commonwealth and keep them from speaking out.”

The commissioner says he has spoken with some of the school districts since making the request.

He did not say what he will do next with the information he receives.