By Bernie Woodall
(Reuters) – Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin apologized on Sunday for saying last week that a teacher walkout that shut schools in many of the state’s districts led to children being sexually assaulted.
In an interview with a WDRB-TV television reporter on Friday, the Republican governor said he could guarantee that somewhere in Kentucky a child was sexually assaulted after being left home with no supervision because of the walkout.
In a video statement on Sunday, Bevin said: “I’m sorry for those of you, every single one of you, that has been hurt by things that I’ve said.”
Kentucky’s Republican-majority House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution on Saturday criticizing the governor’s comments, and the Republican state Senate president said Bevin should apologize, according to local media.
Teachers in Kentucky, as well as in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona, have held recent walkouts or protests demanding more funds for education, including teachers’ salaries and pensions.
Kentucky legislators voted on Friday to override Bevin’s veto of a two-year state budget that increased education funding through a $480 million tax increase.
Bevin said on Friday that single-parent households in the state had been forced to leave children at home and in peril of not just sexual assault, but of ingesting poison or being offered drugs for the first time.
In his apology video on Sunday, Bevin appeared to defend some of the comments he had made.
“We can’t be so consumed with the financial that we fail to appreciate the ripple effect of the real people that are involved,” Bevin said on Sunday.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Additional reporting by Karen Pierog in Chicago; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Peter Cooney)
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