PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. — A voicemail sent to Science Hill Independent Schools parents has gone viral after a Kentucky superintendent called Gov. Andy Beshear a “liberal lunatic.”

What You Need To Know

  • Science Hill superintendent Jimmy Dyehouse sent a voicemail to parents calling Gov. Andy Beshear a “liberal lunatic” on Tuesday

  • Gov. Beshear issued a mask mandate on Aug. 10 for everyone inside Kentucky schools

  • The Kentucky Board of Education unanimously approved universal masking in public schools through 2022

  • Beshear, in response to the voicemail, said, "Calling people names does not help protect Kentuckians or set a good example for our children"

Just hours before Science Hill Independent School students returned to the classroom on Wednesday, Aug. 11, Beshear issued a statewide mask mandate for everyone inside Kentucky schools and childcare facilities.

The night before the first day of school, Superintendent Jimmy Dyehouse sent out a voicemail to more than 400 Science Hill families and more than 800 parents' phones.

You can read a transcript of Dyehouse's voicemail below:

“Good afternoon. As you already know, and probably have already heard, this liberal lunatic that we have up in Frankfort has signed another executive order mandating masks for all students and adults in school. What this means is the professional opinion of your superintendent doesn't matter, the opinion of your school board doesn't matter and you as parents, your opinion doesn't matter because I know exactly how you all feel about your children wearing masks, and believe me, I’m as frustrated as you're over this. Starting in the morning, all students will have to wear a mask on the bus and inside the building as well as adults inside of our building will have to be masked tomorrow. We're hoping that this will be fought in court this week and we will get this overturned. I'll let you know as soon as I hear something further. I’m sorry. Thank you.”

For former Science Hill student Emma Wilson, the voicemail left her stunned.

“It made me a little mad and somewhat uncomfortable because he was our principal, and I didn't know what to do because he was the one overseeing us,” Wilson said.

Spectrum News reached out to Gov. Beshear for his repsonse on the voicemail left by Superintendent Dyehouse. Beshear said the charged voicemail doesn't set a good example for Kentucky children.

"Calling people names does not help protect Kentuckians or set a good example for our children. This step is necessary to protect lives, to keep children in school, because many are not yet vaccinated, and to continue growing an economy that is on fire," Beshear said.

He added that public health leaders and the CDC support the decision to mandate masks. He also took a shot at those opposing his actions, saying that no politician speaking out against it acknowleges that hospitals – including children's hospitals in Kentucky – are rapidly filling up.

"Not one of the politicians who oppose this step has even acknowledged the severity of the delta variant or that some of our hospitals are already full," Beshear said. "I'm putting the lives of our people and the education of our children over politics, they should as well."

Dyehouse, who serves as both the principal and superintendent at Science Hill, suggested the governor's mandate portrayed him as a liar.

“Our kids were so excited about not having to wear a mask, and Mr. Dyehouse had told them they were going to start this year normal and have masks optional, and it almost made Mr. Dyehouse looks like the bad guy or that I lied to my students,” Dyehouse said.

Dyehouse said Science Hill only had 10 positive COVID-19 cases in the 120 in-person days they attended last year. Dyehouse believes that's more in-person days than any other school district in the state, and it's why he believes parents should have the choice to mask their child.

For Heather Mink, after transferring school districts, her children are attending Science Hill for the first time this school year.  

“My kindergartner, I was really hoping for her first days of school, she would be able to go into normal circumstances instead of being masked as a 5 year old,” Mink said.

Some Science Hill families are backing their leader up.

“I was livid, I mean, I wasn't livid because of what Dyehouse said, I think that he spoke his peace, and I was mad because the governor chose to take my rights away as a parent because it's my choice, my child,” Jennifer Price said.

But for former Science Hill students like Emma and Chloe Wilson, the family ultimately decided to homeschool due to what the school wasn't doing.

“The main reason we made it was because there were no mask mandates or anything in place at the school, so we made the decision to homeschool, and then we got the phone call, and I was like, 'Yep, made the right decision,'” parent Stephanie Wilson said.

As for Dyehouse, he said he doesn't have any regrets.

“No regrets whatsoever. I'll never apologize for standing up for what's right and what's best for my kids.”

The Kentucky Board of Education unanimously approved universal masking in public schools through 2022.

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