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April 16, 2018
On Friday, April 13, teachers and students from all over Kentucky gathered at the State Capitol in Frankfort. They were there to peacefully protest Governor Matt Bevin’s veto of the 2018 Budget Bill.
The budget would provide $4,000 per student in each district under the Support Education Excellence in Kentucky, SEEK, funding program, it would also restore cuts made in January to the transportation budget, among other reforms. The bill was not perfect and did not comply with every demand that teachers wanted; however, they could not create the perfect bill with the funding available.
I decided, along with my mother, cousin, and family friend, who are all teachers, to go to Frankfort and protest. Parking a mile away, due to the lack of open spaces, we started our trek to the Capitol. We wore red, the color chosen to support teachers, which made our cause known to anyone passing by. As we walked down the sidewalk, holding our homemade signs, we received many honks and yells of approval from the drivers on the road.
When we approached the Capitol, we were greeted by a sea of red. Making our way onto the front steps, the crowd began to roar. “Vote him out, vote him out!” they chanted. The teachers stood defiantly, signs held high in the air, as they followed the chants of a man yielding a microphone.
There was a booth, where anyone could sign up for a slot to speak. They had a microphone and a speaker placed in the middle of the steps where everyone could see. Many speakers were high school students, sharing the struggles that they have faced, and how the situation would make them worse. Some were adults, who shared their stories as teachers, and what it meant to them. Other speakers were just there to support teachers and had no affiliation with teaching whatsoever.
As it got closer to 1 p.m., people began to crowd the Capitol doors, yelling “Let us in, let us in!” As 1:30 rolled around, and the middle door was opened. Security guards began letting us inside. Two lines were made because there were only two metal detectors available at the entrance. When I got inside, I had to hand my ID over to a security guard, where he wrote down all the information on a spreadsheet. Then, I walked through a metal detector, and finally, I was in.
We began to gather on the House of Representatives side because they were in session at the time. We made sure that the Representatives inside could hear their chants. In the meantime, there were still people outside on the steps protesting. This went on for another couple of hours. Teachers are determined to get the change they demand, chanting: “We will remember, in November!”