Who Is Matt Bevin? Kentucky Governor "Guarantees" A Child Was Sexually Assaulted Because Teacher Rallies Cancelled School

After thousands of teachers rallied at Kentucky's state capitol on Friday, the state's governor said their absence from the classroom did serious harm to children. Nearly 40 school districts closed Friday because teachers requested leave to go to the rally in Kentucky's capital city, Frankfort. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the closures included some of the largest districts in the state.

"You know, here's what's crazy to me: You know how many hundreds of thousands of children today were left home alone? I guarantee you a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was no one there to watch them," Gov. Matt Bevin told Marcus Green, a reporter with Kentucky's Fox-affiliated station WDRB. "I guarantee you 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 flippantly disregarded what's best for children."

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

He stated that due to financial pressures, some single parents probably had no choice but to leave their children home alone "in communities where people knew that for a fact and took advantage of it. As 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 alone."

According to Kentucky Youth Advocates, about 37 percent of children in the state lived in a single-parent home in 2012. The national rate is similar. Children are asked to take care of themselves even when there aren't teacher rallies happening, of course. 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 nearly 30 percent of 14-year-olds. The average time children were left to care for themselves was seven hours per week.

According to the Kentucky Education Association, Friday's rally was meant to encourage legislators to override Bevin's veto of budget and tax bills. Both vetoes were overridden on Friday. "We acknowledge neither bill gives the citizens of the Commonwealth everything that our students, their parents and our communities need. Some aspects of the revenue bill are regressive, and other provisions give tax breaks to top earners that don't need them. Both are serious concerns," the Association posted on Facebook. However, the association added, both bills include "much needed" funding.

WHY IS KEA AT THE CAPITOL TODAY AND WHAT DO WE WANT? • We want the Kentucky House and Senate to override Governor...

Posted by Kentucky Education Association on Friday, April 13, 2018

Districts also closed on March 31—another Friday—after Bevin and Kentucky's Republican-controlled state legislature passed a pension reform law on March 29, according to CNN. One of the major changes in that law was introducing a new, hybrid cash balance pension plan for new teachers. According to the IRS, these plans blend aspects of two more common types of pension plans known as defined benefit and defined contribution plans. People who oppose the plan are concerned it will discourage younger people from becoming teachers, according to the Washington Post.

Kentucky isn't the only state where politicians are facing off against teachers. The New York Times reported that Oklahoma teachers ended a nine-day walkout on Thursday after winning $6,000 raises. West Virginia teachers went on strike for more than a week in March, eventually receiving a 5 percent pay increase, Politico reported.