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Academics and college students protest schooling payments into account during “sick out” protests
Sam Upshaw Jr., Louisville Courier Journal

FRANKFORT — Kentucky’s schooling chief stated Friday he is not out to punish academics who participated in sickouts that closed down greater than a half-dozen faculty districts across the state.

However he wouldn’t rule it out. 

Schooling Commissioner Wayne Lewis held a press convention to elucidate his request for the names of Kentucky academics who referred to as in sick on the dates of the “sickouts,” in addition to any documentation similar to doctor’s notes that might prove that they have been really sick.

Purchase Photograph

Kentucky Schooling Commissioner Wayne Lewis takes questions from the media relating to studies that he asked for the names of academics calling in sick. March 15, 2019 (Photograph: Alton Strupp/Courier Journal)

Jefferson County Public Faculties has referred to as off faculty six occasions in the last three weeks due to academics calling in sick, and more than a half-dozen faculty districts have additionally closed.

“It isn’t a scare tactic,” Lewis stated. “It is me saying very clearly that the expectation … is that if you will call in sick, you ought to be sick.”

But in a press release later Friday, the Kentucky Schooling Association fired again, arguing that Lewis was compiling an “enemies record” of educators for Gov. Matt Bevin and his administration, which has criticized the sickouts.

“This tactic serves just one function — to intimidate educators, public staff, faculty board members and superintendents across the commonwealth and maintain them from speaking out,” the association stated.

On Thursday, Lewis sent an e mail to 10 superintendents, together with JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio, requesting the names of all teachers who called in sick on the dates the sickouts took place, beginning with the first on Feb. 28.

Thousands of teachers used those days to protest in Frankfort against proposed legislation that they said was unfair to educators and public schools.

Lewis said he’s heard back from several superintendents, including Pollio, and none have indicated they would not comply.

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JCPS spokeswoman Renee Murphy said Friday that the district is reviewing Lewis’ request.

Our Q&A: What will Kentucky’s education chief do with ‘sickout’ teacher names?

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The Kentucky Department of Education, which Lewis oversees, does not directly employ the teachers whose names he is seeking. But as commissioner, he does have authority to investigate educator misconduct and to refer his findings to a state division that can revoke teacher licenses.

In its statement, the statewide teachers union accused Lewis of usurping local control and questioned his motives.

If discipline isn’t Lewis’ goal, KEA asked, “then what is he trying to achieve? Who is he targeting? And why now?”

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