Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Bevin Says Teacher Protests Left Students Vulnerable To Sex Abuse, Poison

Bevin Says Teacher Protests Left Students Vulnerable To Sex Abuse, Poison

"Surely as we're having this conversation, children were harmed. some physically, some sexually, some were introduced to drugs for the first time, because they were vulnerable and left's offensive, frankly, it really is", Bevin told the Courier-Journal.

Kentucky lawmakers on Friday overrode Gov. Matt Bevin's vetoes of tax and budget bills that boost spending on public education with the help of additional tax revenue, in a victory for teachers.

Educators in that state are among a wave of education protests across the country recently: Arizona, Oklahoma, and West Virginia have all recently seen walkouts, school closures, and large public demonstrations calling for higher teacher pay and better funding for schools.

In response to thousands of statewide teachers that left their classrooms on Friday to protest in the capital city of Frankfort, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin blamed the educators for a hypothetical sexual assault on a child left home from school. But 5-7 House Republicans united by Senate Republicans, voted to override. Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation raising teacher salaries by about $6,100 and providing millions in new education funding, but many say schools need more money.

"You know how many children live in urban communities and rural communities where there's a single parent who literally if they could afford to skip work and not lose their job, they couldn't afford to because they need the money". In one place, he said he'd met with Senate and House leaders week to indicate "more responsible tactics to pay for for 100% of the asked education financing". The vote was 66-28 in the House and 26-12 in the Senate.

The override vote on the budget, House Bill 200, wasn't close. Later, without a vote to spare, the Republican-controlled Senate voted 20-18 to override the tax increase veto.

In the interview, Bevin said, "This is what's insane to me".

Rep. Jeff Hoover, a Republican from Jamestown, criticized the governor for never calling a special legislative session on tax reform previous year, despite promising to do so.

Meanwhile, thousands of teachers rallied at the state Capitol on Friday, pushing for lawmakers to increase funding for education and protesting a law signed by Bevin that changes state worker pension benefits.

As that reality started to sink in at the Capitol, the governor expressed his frustration with the teachers who called in sick to rally to reporters. "They've done nothing to improve that process", said Carpenter. "Because what they were doing then was impacting me and all my fellow teachers".

Plus, the budget would eliminate several ancillary education programs like teacher professional development and grants for textbooks and other instructional materials.

Sherri Botts teaches fifth grade in Lexington.

As the session comes to an end, many are already looking to November. She said teachers will push to elect candidates that will put more money towards public education.

This post has been updated.

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