KENTUCKY — The governor of Kentucky sparked backlash on social media after criticizing schools in the Midwest for closing during the deadly arctic freeze that has gripped the center of the United States with record-breaking cold temperatures this week, according to MSN.com.
Governor Mark Bevin made the remarks during a a radio interview Tuesday on 840 WHAS, calling America “soft.”
“Now we cancel school for cold?” the governor told host Terry Meiners, according to MSN.
“It’s a deep freeze,” the host replied. “This is serious business.”
Bevins was unmoved.
“Come on, now,” he said. “I mean, there’s no ice going with it, or any snow. I mean, what happens to America? We’re getting soft.”
Later, Bevin added that he did “appreciate that it’s better to err on the side of being safe,” and admitted that his comments were “slightly facetious.”
But, he said later, “It does concern me a little bit that in America, on this and many other fronts, that we’re sending messages to our young people that if life is hard, you can just curl up in the fetal position somewhere in a warm place and just wait until it stops being hard…that just isn’t reality.”
MSN reports that the National Weather Service predicted wind chill temperatures would be between minus-15 and minus-20 degrees in Louisville Wednesday. At least nine schools closed in various districts across Kentucky on Wednesday, MSN said.
Bevin’s remarks drew responses from educators in Kentucky on Twitter.
“We will always support decisions made for the health & safety of Kentucky’s children. Always,” the Kentucky Education Association tweeted.
Other teachers in Kentucky asked the governor to stand in the cold for 30 minutes, like students would if they had to catch a bus.
“I’d like to see @MattBevin prove how ‘hard’ he is by standing outside for 30 minutes tomorrow morning as if he were waiting for a bus with less than adequate clothing, like many of KY’s Ss would have been due to their lack of resources,” tweeted Jessica Duenas, a teacher at the W.E.B. DuBois Academy in Louisville,
Louisville teacher, Tiffany Dunn, tweeted: “These elitist comments don’t shock me anymore, but they’re still appalling. I’m thankful for our school systems taking student safety so seriously. We have to remember the safety of EVERY child — not just those who have the means to dress warmly in this type of weather.”