Don’t Punish Teachers for Protesting Education Policy

Target: Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis

Goal: Do not punish Kentucky teachers for using sick leave to protest at the state Capitol.

Teachers across the state of Kentucky have been protesting a recent proposal that would change who is in charge of the teachers’ pension fund and would indirectly support private schools with tax credits. Now, the largest school district in the state has turned over a list of teachers that used personal sick days to protest these changes at the state Capitol. The Education Commissioner, who requested the names of the teachers, hasn’t decided if he plans to punish those teachers on the list.

The protest garnered much attention as hundreds of Kentucky teachers attended. So many teachers were present at the protest that Jefferson County Public Schools had to cancel class several times due to teacher absences. While this presented a problem for the school district, teachers are allowed to use their state given leave of absent days.

To punish teachers for fighting for their futures violates their freedom of speech. If the Education Commissioner punishes these teachers it sends a very clear, very dangerous message: keep your mouth shut or face repercussions. If teachers aren’t allowed to fight for their jobs, how does the state think it’s going to keep teachers? Teachers cannot effectively do their jobs if there are threats coming from the administration.

Stand up for our educators. Sign the petition to send a message to Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis: do not punish Kentucky teachers for exercising their right to free speech.


Dear Commissioner Lewis,

Kentucky teacher exercised their right to free speech by protesting at the state Capitol this spring. The teachers used their own personal days to fight against purposed changes that would directly affect their livelihoods. You then requested a list of teachers who took time off to attend the protest from Jefferson County Public Schools. You neither confirmed nor denied the possibility of punishing these teachers. This is unacceptable.

Should you chose to punish these teachers you are sending a negative message to all educators of the state of Kentucky. You are telling them they are not allowed to use their freedom of speech on their own time. You are telling them they can be punished for standing up for their jobs and their future. You are telling them they are expendable.

Do not send this message to the teachers of Kentucky. The eyes of teachers across the country are watching.

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Chris Slupski

One Comment

  1. Wayne Lewis– DO NOT punish Kentucky teachers for using THEIR OWN sick days to protest at the state capital. They have a right to speak their voices. Teaching is a special job given to those who love children & they are critical in molding our children into who they will become.

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