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Science Hill Superintendent speaks about viral voicemail calling Gov. Beshear a 'liberal lunatic'

Posted at 10:08 AM, Aug 12, 2021

PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Kentucky school superintendent at the center of controversy over a voicemail wants people to know the motive behind his frustration.

In the voicemail sent out to students Tuesday night, Jimmy Dyehouse called Gov. Beshear a "liberal lunatic" when discussing the new mask mandate.

There has been both outrage and support from people across Kentucky. Dyehouse says at the time, he had no idea what he said would garnish so much attention.

"Frustration, disappointment, all those things were going through my mind as I was doing the One Call. And then I also wanted to apologize to my parents and my kids more than anything, because I felt like this made Mr. Dyehouse look like he was telling my kids a lie," said Dyehouse.

On the first day of school, Dyehouse enforced the mask rules. Students walked the halls following restrictions. But his hope was this year would be more normal.

"All my kids knew is that I had told them we were going to be able to start a school without any masks at all, and it was going to be a normal year. They were so excited about it last week during an open house when they came with no mask on. And then I had to make a One Call 12-14 hours before they got up to go to school," explained Dyehouse.

Dyehouse says he has no regrets about what he said or how he said it.

"There was a handful of folks that got their feelings hurt," said Dyehouse. "What I found out over the last several years is so many times when you tell the truth, the truth hurts a lot of feelings sometimes. I spoke about what a lot of other folks wanted me to speak about but didn't do it themselves. And sometimes, feelings are going to get hurt. I'm not trying to please everybody."

He feels like people who don't live in Science Hill don't really understand where he's coming from.

"I'm tired of folks telling us how to run Science Hill," said Dyehouse. "My parents are tired of mandates been placed on us that are the same as Jefferson County or Fayette County or Franklin County. It's a little different here."

Dean of students Kellie Wilson, who's lived and worked in Science Hill for more than 20 years, says that's how a lot of people feel in their small town.

"A lot of the lashing out on social media was from parents that do not have students enrolled in our district," said Wilson.

Wilson says of the around 440 students that attend the K-8 building, ten tested positive for COVID-19 last school year. He says that's the perspective they want people to see.

"Parents are just frustrated. Frustrated that their choice was taken away, frustrated that it was such short notice," said Wilson.

LEX 18 Anchor Nancy Cox asked Governor Beshear why the decision was made for all counties and school systems. The governor said he decided with one reason in mind.

"To protect the children of our commonwealth. COVID in Science Hill isn't any different than COVID anywhere else. It harms our children, pediatric hospitalizations are on the rise, and hospitalizations are up. We're about to go through a really rough period, and I care about our kids more than I care about my own popularity," said Gov. Beshear.