On Friday, thirty school districts across Kentucky closed Friday while teachers traveled to the state Capitol in Frankfurt to show support for increased funding for public education.
In response, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin told a reporter that children were harmed by the school closures. In a video posted to Twitter by WDRB-TV reporter Marcus Green, Gov. Bevin said,
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 home alone because a single parent didn’t have any money to take care of them. I’m offended by the idea that people so cavalierly and so flippantly disregarded what’s truly best for children.
He added that “some were introduced to drugs for the first time because they were vulnerable and left alone.”
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin on the teacher rallies today. “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.” pic.twitter.com/Q4PpzFsTt2
— Marcus Green (@MarcusGreenWDRB) April 13, 2018
According to CBS News, the Kentucky legislature passed a two-year operating budget that increases public education spending with the help of a $480 million tax increase. Gov. Bevin vetoed it, and on Friday, Kentucky’s lawmakers overrode his veto.
Kentucky is one of several states, including West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona, where teachers have protested in recent weeks. The surge of activism is enough to cast doubts on whether Republicans can keep control of the state House of Representatives in the fall—and whether Bevin, an ally of the Trump administration, could survive a re-election campaign in 2019.
In a video message on Sunday (embedded below), Bevin apologized to those offended by recent remarks insinuating that walkouts by teachers have left children unsupervised and vulnerable to sexual assault. He also thanked supporters “who understood” his comments on the protests that forced the closure of more than 30 school districts in his state:
The responsibility for communicating things falls on the person, in large measure, who’s doing the speaking. Sometimes, when I’m doing that I do it effectively. Sometimes, not so much, and I think this case is an example of the latter.
I apologize for those who have been hurt by the things that were said was not my intent whatsoever. For those of you who have been hurt, it is my absolute sincere apology to you. It is not my intent to hurt anybody in this process but to help us all move forward together. We need each other. We’re in this together. We are Kentucky.
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