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Governor Beshear supports teachers’ rights by rescinding former Labor Cabinet stance on ‘sickouts’

Teachers did not violate state laws during protests in Frankfort

FRANKFORT, Ky. — On New Year's Eve Governor Andy Beshear announced he has reversed the prior administration’s decision that teachers violated state law when they participated in “sickouts” while protesting anti-public education policies.

Gov. Beshear said, following an investigation in 2018 by the former Labor Cabinet, nearly 1,000 teachers were wrongly accused of violating state labor laws and threatened with civil penalties of up to $1,000 per violation.

“We are rescinding the prior administration’s stance to make clear that our teachers and educators never broke the law and are welcome in Frankfort,” said Gov. Beshear. “In order to do what is best for our public education system and each student, we must respect each other and find ways to work together.”

RELATED: Judge returns 'sickout' subpoenas lawsuit to state court

“In our administration we are focused on bringing Kentuckians together to solve our most pressing problems,” said Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman “and that starts with making sure we recognize the constitutional rights of our employees, educators and all Kentuckians.”

The letter sent Monday, from Beshear’s Labor Cabinet Secretary Larry Roberts to the cabinet’s inspector general, states the former secretary’s conclusion was contrary to law since there was no “strike” or “work stoppage” under KRS 336.130(1).

The letter states teachers were exercising constitutional rights to speech, petition and assembly and not engaged in a dispute with their employers concerning the terms of their employment.

To read a copy of the letter, click here.

RELATED: Kentucky governor says teachers protested to 'get off work'

RELATED: Labor Secretary David Dickerson announces completion of "Sickout" investigation

RELATED: Names of teachers involved in sickouts turned over to Bevin's administration

RELATED: Lawsuit claims Governor Bevin fired employee due to her ties to a group that supported teacher sick-outs

RELATED: JCPS hands preliminary list of 'sickout' names to state officials

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