Education Politics

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is blaming the shooting of a Louisville child on last month’s teacher sickouts.

“While we had people pretending to be sick when they weren’t sick, and leaving kids unattended to, or in situations that they should not have been in, a girl was shot,” Bevin said in comments to the Louisville Rotary Club Thursday.

The 7-year-old girl was shot on March 12, a day when Jefferson County Public Schools were closed due to teacher protests.

It is not clear whether the child, who was shot in Shively, was a JCPS student.

Bevin made the statement in a discussion about combating gun violence. He referred to the shooting of a girl by her 11-year-old brother. Last month, Shively Police Lt. Col. Josh Myers told the Courier Journal that the shooting appeared accidental, and occurred while their uncle was outside the home. The child was hospitalized in critical condition.

The shooting occurred at 3:06 p.m. Most JCPS elementary schools release students at 3:45 p.m., according to the district’s website.

The comments recall Bevin’s statement in April 2018, that a teacher sickout during the 2018 legislative session led to children being sexually assaulted or ingesting poison while left unsupervised.

“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,” Bevin said.

The Kentucky Democratic Party responded in a press release to the governor’s comments Thursday saying that “Governor Bevin’s continued attacks on teachers are disgusting and unforgivable.”

Following the Rotary Club event, Bevin criticized reporters for focusing on his comments about the shooting rather than the topic of the discussion about gun violence.

“The only thing that you all are pumping out there is talking about this 7-year-old girl who was shot,” Bevin said. “Really? That’s pretty sad.”

Liz Schlemmer is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.