Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin took his battle with striking teachers to a new level Friday by accusing them of enabling child sexual assault—a blow that even his fellow Republicans rebuked, CNN reports. "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," said Bevin, meaning that public school closures had left children without a safe environment. "I guarantee you somewhere today, a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were home alone because a single parent didn't have any money to take care of them." He added that "some were introduced to drugs for the first time because they were vulnerable and left alone."
"There are no words for this other than, I am appalled!" President of the Kentucky Education Association Stephanie Winkler responded on Twitter, but she wasn't alone. Republican state Sen. Max Wise called Bevin's words "disgusting" and "reprehensible," and the AP reports that rebukes came from both sides of the aisle in Kentucky's GOP-led House. Meanwhile an online petition is circulating to demand an apology from Bevin and state Democratic Rep. Attica Scott is calling for him to resign, the Courier-Journal reports. Bevin's remarks came just after the state legislature overrode his vetoes of budget and tax reform bills that hundreds of teachers had gathered in Frankfort to protect, for the sake of K-12 education funding. Teachers are also striking in Oklahoma after West Virginia teachers struck and won 5% raises last month. (Read more teachers' strike stories.)