Ky. governor says kids faced sex assault due to teacher rally

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin railed against teachers protesting outside the state capitol this week, asserting with certainty that their demonstration resulted in children being sexually assaulted, poisoned and injured.

“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,” the Republican politician told reporters Friday evening.

“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 enough money to take care of them.”

He added that he knew “for a fact” that “hundreds of thousands” of students were home because schools were closed across the state’s 39 districts so to allow teachers and administrators to protest potential funding cuts.

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Hours later, the Republican-dominated legislature overrode the GOP governor’s veto of the state’s two-year operating budget, which includes record new spending for education.

The money boost is expected to be funded by way of a 50-cent increase in the cigarette tax and a 6 percent sales tax on services including home and auto repair.

Bevin slammed the bills as “sloppy” and “non-transparent,” calling for alternative options following his veto.

Thousands of teachers on Friday rallied both inside and outside the Capitol, encouraging lawmakers to part with Bevin on the issue. They sat in lawn chairs and held up signs as they lounged on blankets while tunes like “Teach Your Children” blasted from nearby speakers.

Bevin criticized the protesting teachers for “hanging out, shoes off... smoking, leaving trash,” and “taking the day off.”

“As surely as we’re having this conversation, children were harmed, some physically, some sexually,” he continued. “Some were introduced to drugs for the first time because they were vulnerable and left alone. It’s offensive. It really is.”

The House voted 57-40 to override the veto of the tax increase and 66-28 to override Bevin’s veto of the budget, with Republicans eager to assert their independence after a challenging year muddied by a sexual harassment scandal.

Bevin responded to the outcome on Twitter, writing that he’d been meeting with House and Senate leaders all week to find a “more responsible way to pay for 100 percent of the requested education funding.”

But he was met with “Crickets,” he quipped.

The veto override marks a victory for Kentucky teachers who earlier this year bemoaned changes to their pension system. The Senate is slated to take up the vetoes next.

“You can stand here all day and act like you are all for (education) until it comes time to pay for it,” said Republican Rep. Regina Huff, a middle school special education teacher.

“We have to have this revenue to fund our schools.”

With News Wire Services