Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, blasted teachers for participating in a statewide walkout Friday. Bevin said he believes “hundreds of thousands of children” were left alone and some were raped or took drugs because no one was home to care for them.
What did he say?
"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,” Bevin told reporters.
He made the statement after thousands of teachers swarmed Frankfort to demand a boost in state education funding, the Washington Post reported.
“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," he said. “Children were harmed — some physically, some sexually, some were introduced to drugs for the first time — because they were vulnerable and left alone."
Bevin, who has served Kentucky’s governor since 2015, offered no evidence for his claims. Bevin also did not elaborate on how teachers are responsible what happens to students outside of the classroom.
Bevin's words were not taken lightly by Jefferson County Teachers Association President Brent McKim, the Post reported. More than 30 school districts participated in Friday’s demonstrations and they tried to give parents advance notice about school closures, he said.
“The bottom line is that’s one day. He was cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from kids that would impact every day, and that’s what we were in Frankfort to stop,” McKim said, according to published reports. “We were there with the overwhelming support and encouragement of our parents who know that we care about every student in our classes.”
What is the background?
Teachers have also protested Kentucky’s changes to its state pension system, according to an Associated Press report.
Bevin had vetoed a two-year spending bill that included a nearly half-billion-dollar tax increase, but he was overridden by fellow Republicans in the legislature. Bevin has also argued with teacher groups who echoed educator protests across the nation. Teachers have said they are concerned about low salaries and under-funded school systems, the Post reported.
Kentucky state pension system, is considered to be among the worst-funded in the nation, according to the Associated Press.