As teachers and others came streaming out of Wheeling Park High School’s Performing Arts Center, many said they were “disgusted.”
One teacher said this wasn’t a town hall, just a political speech.
Another said the governor focused only on raises rather than PEIA benefits, which made the teachers sound greedy when that is simply not accurate.
Another said that by saying further raises would be “dumb,” it felt like the governor was calling the teachers dumb.
Many said he talked down to them, and they were particularly insulted by his quotes about “rednecks” and “dancing in the streets.”
“He continually called us dumb,” said Sheila Blackmore, a teacher from Marshall County. “I mean he used the word dumb. He said be smart. I’d like to watch the video back and count the times he used the word dumb, and then I believe even ‘rednecks.’ “
“I feel like he’s very condescending and rude, and I’m embarrassed to be a West Virginian right now,” said Stephanie McKitrick, a parent from Ohio County.
“He said you guys can hoot and holler and yell at me or go dance in the street,” recalled Emily Beall, a teacher from Brooke County. “And I thought, we’ve stood out in the rain, we’ve been to Charleston for four days. We’ve spent $400 down there for hotel rooms and things. We’re not dancing in the street!”
“He made the announcement that he wasn’t in there to get re-elected,” said Mark Howard, service personnel president from Marshall County, “And in my opinion, he won’t be.”
Some were clearly furious as they walked out.
Others were smiling and shaking their heads.
Many said it seemed the governor only came to talk, not listen.
And when the governor said he and his wife are teachers and he “hears them,” they said he was being condescending, and he doesn’t hear them at all.