SoKY educators respond to Governor Bevin’s controversial remarks

Bevin called America "soft" in response to schools closing due to the cold weather.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Freezing temperatures and blistering winds throughout the country have led to school and business closings from the Midwest to right here in southcentral Kentucky.

Barren County schools, Warren County schools, and even Western Kentucky University closed up shop to ensure the safety of their students.

“It came from being worried about the safety and wellness of some students that might have to get up before the sun’s even up,” said Barren County Schools Assistant Superintendent Cortni Crews.

“When you’re talking about wind chills that are minus-10, minus-20 degrees, frostbite is a serious concern,” WKU President Timothy Caboni said.

Yesterday, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin made some controversial statements on a Louisville radio station in response to schools across the nation shutting down because of the cold, calling them “soft.”

“We’re sending messages to our young people that, if life is hard, you can curl up in the fetal position, somewhere in a warm place, and just wait until it stops being hard,” Bevin said during the radio interview. “It just isn’t reality.”

Several teachers and educators have condemned the governor’s comments, including the Kentucky Education Association. The KEA tweeted the following, strongly opposing Bevin’s comments.

Kentucky educators weren’t the only ones to respond, either. Well-known NBC weather forecast Al Roker questioned Bevin’s thinking, even going so far as to call the Commonwealth’s governor a “nitwit.”

“These are dangerous temperatures,” Roker said on NBC’s Today. “There’s no point in having kids out there. These are not hardy explorers. These are kids.”

WKU President Timothy Caboni adding to the responses, saying that the decision to cancel classes was made with the best interests of the students in mind.

“It would be wrong to put those young people out in those conditions if they’re not ready to be in it,” Caboni said.

To the school districts that did choose to keep students at home, they say it was worth missing one day of classes to avoid risking the health of their kids.

“I don’t know a lot about decisions that go on at the state level, but I know education, and we know Barren County,” said Crews. “We made the decision that was right.”

Barren County schools are closed for the remainder of the week, but Warren County schools and Western Kentucky University are expected to resume classes on Thursday.