According to Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, the story the media should be covering around the state’s teachers strike is the hundred of thousands of students who were left home alone Friday, vulnerable to physical abuse, sexual molestation, and drug use.
Bevin made the remarks to reporters Friday afternoon, at which time the Republican governor also indicated he had seen a lot of teachers “hanging out, shoes off ... smoking, leaving trash around”.
"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 governor told reporters Friday afternoon, according to CNN affiliate WDRB.
"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."
Bevin went on to say that "some were introduced to drugs for the first time because they were vulnerable and left alone."
The teachers strike, coordinated by the Kentucky Education Association, was in response to a bill signed by Bevin last week that overhauled pensions, among other concerns.
Under the bill, new hires will have to enter a cash-balance plan, as opposed to a traditional pension, and teachers will be limited in the number of new sick days they can put toward their retirement.
Members of the teachers union also were critical of Bevin's vetoes of budget and revenue bills, both of which the union said are crucial to funding public education.
The governor’s words were ill-received by many, including fellow Republicans:
Republican state Sen. Max Wise, who serves as the chamber's Education Committee chairman, also had harsh words for Bevin's remarks.
"The disgusting comments by Gov. Bevin insinuating that a peaceful protest by teachers would lead to sexual assault are reprehensible," Wise said Friday on Twitter. "I don't agree with these comments & I find them repulsive."