Bevin: 'Not my intent to hurt anyone'; Teachers plan 'Black Out"

KENTUCKY (FOX19) - Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin addressed the controversial comments he made following Friday's teacher rally in Frankfort.

While speaking with reporters in Frankfort Friday, Bevin claimed that teachers who called in sick to protest put the children's lives in danger.

"You know how many hundreds of thousands of children today were left home alone?" Bevin asked. "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."

Teachers have responded by organizing a campaign to "Black Out" the governor's words. Many will wear black on Monday and use the hashtag #BlackOutBevin on social media to express their disappointment.

Bevin's comments sparked backlash and responses from the Kentucky Attorney General, The Senate and House Democratic Caucuses, GOP Senator Damon Thayer, and KEA President Stephanie Winkler.

Bevin posted a video to his Twitter account Sunday in an effort to explain his comments.

"It is my responsibility to represent you, not only when I'm speaking to you but also when I'm speaking on your behalf. It is not my intent to hurt anyone, but to help us all move forward. We need each other. We're in this together." Bevin said.

In the video, Bevin never explicitly mentioned his comments on sexual assault, instead he referred to what he called 'unintended consequences' of schools closing.

Bevin appeared to attributed the negative response to his comments to a misunderstanding saying the way people interpreted them or the way he said them lead also to unintended consequences.

The governor went on to apologize to those he claims were hurt by his words and said he takes responsibility for his words.

At least 44 school districts closed Friday as teachers marched on the state capitol in call on legislators to override the governor's veto of the state's budget and tax plan.

Protesters succeeded in their efforts and legislators overturned Bevin's budget and tax vetoes on the final day of the 2018 legislative session.

"I'm offended by the idea that people so cavalierly, and so flippantly, disregarded what's truly best for children," Bevin also said following Friday's rally.

"Gov. Bevin's comments last night saying teachers rallying in Frankfort led to children being sexually abused are morally reprehensible and must be condemned by all Kentuckians. The Office of the Attorney General fights every day to protect our children and has arrested a record number of predators and human traffickers. Our prevention training efforts have reached more than 3,000 Kentuckians. If we want to create a world without child abuse, we cannot tolerate the governor's comments."
"What Governor Bevin said about teachers following their peaceful rally yesterday was reprehensible, and we are proud to join with the many others who have condemned his petty, spiteful remarks.  Our educators and public workers have every right to make their voice heard, and we are deeply proud of the way they have carried themselves throughout this legislative session.  Governor Bevin is on the wrong side of history, and as his latest outburst shows, he's also on the wrong side of simple decency."
"The statements made by Governor Bevin yesterday insinuating that Kentucky teachers are somehow responsible for sexual assault, drug addiction, and neglect is reprehensible and repugnant. Time and time again we hear this demeaning rhetoric spewed, attacking our public educators and public employees.  The Kentucky Senate Democratic Caucus condemns these types of demeaning and degrading statements directed at our teachers and public employees by the Governor."
"It's entirely inappropriate and perverse that the man sitting in the governorship would criticize Kentuckians who stood up today for teachers, public employees and our public education by insinuating that their presence in Frankfort today caused a child to be sexually assaulted," Kentucky Democratic Executive Director Mary Nishimuta said. "His insults of teachers over the last year have been beneath the decorum of any respectable elected official. This rhetoric has crossed a line. As a mother, suggesting children were abused as a prop for his political rhetoric is disturbing and absurdly in poor taste."

Copyright 2018 WXIX. All rights reserved.