FRANKFORT, Ky. — After the Kentucky Department of Education asked 10 district, including JCPS, Bullitt and Oldham County, for information regarding teacher sick-outs, Democratic candidate for Governor Adam Edelen requested the same information for Commissioner Wayne Lewis.
Edelen's campaign submitted two open records requests to the KDE and UK, mirroring Lewis' requests for any and all affidavits or doctor's notes stating he was sick. In a statement, Edelen said people must stand up to bullies.
“If we take Dr. Lewis at his word that all this is trying to do is collect information, then surely he has no issue providing that same information to the taxpayers," Edelen said, "But he’s not, he’s trying to intimidate state workers and carrying water for a governor dead-set on doing everything he can to make teachers pay a price for standing up for themselves.”
Specifically, the request asks districts to send in the names of all teachers who called in sick, any affidavit or note from a physician stating the employee was sick or caring for a family member and documents detailing the district's policies for collecting and verifying sick leaves. Lewis said the requests were sent to determine if state law is being upheld by districts.
Lewis spoke about the request in a press conference Friday, denying that it was a scare tactic. He said that while teachers have the right to protest, they should not ruin quality instructional days.
"Yes, teachers have the constitutional right to be in Frankfort to register their opposition," Lewis said," but teachers do not have the constitutional right to call in sick when you are not sick and force a work stoppage that results in Kentucky schools closing."
The Kentucky Education Association said in a statement that Lewis is using his powers to "compile an enemies list" for the Bevin administration.
"This tactic serves only one purpose — to intimidate educators, public employees, school board members and superintendents across the Commonwealth and keep them from speaking out," the statement said.