Labor Cabinet investigation finds 1,000 teachers violated law during 'sickouts'

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky's labor secretary says more than 1,000 teachers violated state law by participating in mass rallies at the state Capitol that forced some schools to close.

But Labor Secretary David Dickerson says no penalties will be assessed. Dickerson is part of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's administration.

Dickerson said Friday that his agency completed its investigation into teacher sickouts that shut down some schools earlier this year.

Dickerson says the investigation found more than 1,000 teachers violated Kentucky law, which prohibits work stoppages by public-sector employees. He says the agency could have assessed civil penalties up to $1,000 per person for each day away from work.

The protests over several education bills were part of a wave of teacher activism that began last year in West Virginia and spread to other states, including Oklahoma and Arizona.

House Democratic Leaders Rocky Adkins, Derrick Graham and Joni Jenkins released the following statement:

“This administration has tried every trick in the book to undermine our teachers and their supporters. Its Labor Cabinet threatens them with fines for exercising their right to be heard on legislation directly affecting them; its Finance and Administration Cabinet all but locks the doors to the Capitol to shut down any form of dissent; and the governor calls them thugs and tries to take away their retirement. Our teachers — and all of Kentucky — deserve better than this.”

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