Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear last week threatened to take the state’s labor secretary to court for refusing to withdraw subpoenas sent to districts demanding information about teacher sickouts during the 2019 legislative session.
Beshear had sent warnings to the governor and Labor Cabinet and given them 10 days to comply. At that time, he said the subpoenas were an unlawful attempt to bully teachers. In a letter to Gov. Matt Bevin and Labor Secretary David Dickerson, Beshear said that the sickouts did not violate labor law and any attempt to punish or fine teachers who participated would violate their First Amendment rights.
Bevin, a Republican, is running for re-election this year, and Beshear, a Democrat, is competing for the party’s nomination to face Bevin.
Districts that canceled classes during the protests said they had received the subpoenas asking for absence records, medical affidavits confirming illnesses, records of teachers making requests for absences, documents regarding the closing of schools, and district policies.
Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis said that labor violations could result in $1,000 fines to individual teachers.
A version of this article appeared in the May 01, 2019 edition of Education Week as Ky. Attorney General Warns Officials to Rescind Teacher Sickout Subpoenas