LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Kentucky Department of Education wants a list of teachers who called in sick since Feb. 28, 2019 -- when the first teacher sickout of the year closed school districts in the state.
Education commissioner Wayne Lewis said he wants to ensure state law is upheld.
Teachers called in sick to protest in Frankfort in large numbers. Educators said they worried about bills they felt would negatively impact public education in the state.
The KDE sent an email to 10 school districts Thursday: Bath, Boyd, Bullitt, Carter, Fayette, Jefferson, Letcher, Madison, Marion and Oldham.
The content of the email requested the following, according to the KDE:
- The names of all teachers that called in sick for February 28, March 5-7, and/or March 12-14, 2019 and the day(s) for which each teacher called in sick;
- Any and all affidavits or certificates of a reputable physician stating that the employee was ill or caring for an ill family member on the days the employee called in sick, as required by KRS 161.155 for the granting of any sick leave; and
- Documentation of the district’s policies, procedures, and/or protocols for collecting sick leave affidavits or certifications and verifying qualification for the granting of sick leave.
The email said records must be handed over by March 18.
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- Sickouts still happened despite district’s plan with union, so who organized them?
- Governor Bevin’s post on ‘sick of sickouts’ gets reaction
- JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio weighs in on sickouts
“The Kentucky Department of Education takes the closing of schools very seriously,” Lewis said in an email. “While it is important that administrators, teachers and students make their voices heard about issues related to public education policy, advocacy should under no circumstances be putting a stop to learning for entire communities. Most Kentucky districts have managed to make that avenue available without work stoppages and have continued to serve students.”
The KDE said state law stipulates that Lewis has access to teachers’ records and records of any public school officials.
If he finds a violation has occurred, the KDE said they will notify the county or Commonwealth’s attorneys in the county or district where it happened.
The Kentucky Education Association (KEA) issued the following response to the KDE demand for records:
JCTA sent an e-mail to union members, saying in part:
“JCTA does not believe that a teacher should have to provide an affidavit of sick leave on a day when school was closed. If you are asked to provide an affidavit of sick leave or a doctor's statement, please contact JCTA immediately (502-454-3400)!”
A rep for JCPS said they received Lewis’ request and are reviewing it.