Teachers and lawmakers react to Bevin’s comments

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Governor Matt Bevin is making national headlines for comments about teachers Friday that some are calling “spiteful” and “disgusting”.

Friday, thousands of teachers were in Frankfort advocating for full funding of public education as lawmakers reversed the Governor’s vetoes on a tax and budget bill.

At the end of the day, the Governor told reporters he thought the teachers’ rally was negligent.

“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, I guarantee you somewhere today, a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were left alone because a single parent didn’t have any money to take care of them.”

When reporters asked him what the rally was like, he followed up with this statement.

“I saw a lot of people hanging out, shoes off, smoking, hanging out, leaving trash around, taking the day off.”

At the end of the interview, he told reporters the real story was the ripple effect protests cause.

After a day of angry reactions from teachers, parents, and politicians, house lawmakers from both parties passed resolutions on Saturday condemning Bevin’s statements during the final session.

Senate Minority leader, Ray Jones said Bevin crossed the line when he insulted public teachers.

One teacher said, “I can’t understand what he was thinking when he made the comments he did because it was inappropriate, I don’t know what to say.”

“I don’t know what kind of person thinks like that, I just, it’s appalling. It’s inexcusable and there aren’t words to describe.”

Senate President, Robert Stivers said during the session that the Governor should clarify or apologize for his remarks.

Kentucky Education Association President, Stephanie Winkler says it will do no good.

“He thinks its helping the situation by throwing insults and calling us thugs and incompetent, it’s never ending and that is not the way you gain support from citizens.”

Winkler, confused by Bevin’s comments says at most some school districts only missed two days of school, and more days were missed due to weather.

The Speaker of the House Pro Tempore said when he first heard what was said, he couldn’t connect teachers rallying to students being potentially assaulted.

“The statements that have been made will overshadow some of the good work that we have done during this session and I think that it’s unfortunate and you know this is been a good session, a productive session that will move Kentucky forward and I hate for those things to be barred. The fact of the matter is, we did a lot of good things for public education, we did a lot of good things for teachers and they leave with a bit of a stain on that.”

The final day of work included two bills with last-minute changes to spending and tax policies.
The bills are headed to the Governors desk, he has authority to veto any of the changes and lawmakers wouldn’t be able to attempt an override.

For the resolution made by the house, the clerk will forward a copy along with its comments to Governor Bevin.

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