Children were sexually assaulted or ingested poison Friday because teachers were at the Capitol to protest the state budget, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said in an impromptu press conference just hours after his vetoes of the budget and tax reform bills were overridden. Organizers said parents were given plenty of notice about school closings. A survey done in 2011 and summarized in 2013 found that two percent of 5-year-olds and 6-year-olds who lived with their mother were left alone some of the time they weren't in school; that proportion increased to almost 30 percent of 14-year-olds.
The veto override marks a victory for Kentucky teachers who earlier this year bemoaned changes to their pension system. Children are asked to take care of themselves even when there aren't teacher rallies happening, of course.
Bevin said "for a fact. hundreds of thousands" of children were left home alone because schools were closed in 39 districts across the state to allow teachers and administrators to protest funding cuts.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said today that he guarantees a child was sexually assaulted due to absent teachers in over 30 school districts while they rallied at the state Capitol in Frankfort.
He expressed how appalled he was that people "discarded what's truly best for children", claiming that there were people who knew so many children were home and "took advantage of that".
A spokesman for the Kentucky Education Association declined to comment. President of the Kentucky Education Association Stephanie Winkler wrote on Twitter. "As a mother, suggesting children were abused as a prop for his political rhetoric is disturbing and absurdly in poor taste".
Thousands of teachers rallied inside and outside the Capitol on Friday. They sat in lawn chairs and held up signs as they lounged on blankets while tunes like "Teach Your Children" blasted from nearby speakers.
"I don't want to be out of my classroom". The New York Times reported that Oklahoma teachers ended a nine-day walkout on Thursday after winning $6,000 raises.
Kentucky's two-year operating budget includes record new spending for public education, fueled by a 50-cent increase in the cigarette tax and a 6 percent sales tax on some services including home and auto fix. His veto was overturned by lawmakers. Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Shively, said the bill raises new money "on working folks" while "giving a $500 million rebate to our wealthiest and corporations".
By asking them to vote for another period to get the tax increase in a election 25, the veto put law makers at a position. But 57 Republicans eagerly voted to override, asserting their independence after a tumultuous year marred by a sexual harassment scandal.
"You can stand here all day and act like you are all for [education] until it comes time to pay for it".
They also said the budget continues to provide inadequate funding for education and vigorously criticized the way Republicans crafted it without Democratic involvement.
"We have to get this revenue to finance schools", explained a Republican and middle school special education teacher, consultant Regina Huff.
Democrats sided with the governor, but for different reasons. He vowed to call a special session "to pass a transparent and properly balanced budget" in a separate tweet.
The home voted 5-7 to 40 to override the veto of the tax growth and sixty six to 28 to override the budget veto. The Senate is slated to take up the vetoes next.
Bevin followed the debate closely, responding to lawmakers' speeches with tweets.
Kentucky isn't the only state where politicians are facing off against teachers.
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