April 16 (UPI) -- Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has apologized for comments he made that a teachers strike in his state left students vulnerable to sexual and drug abuse.
The governor received criticism when he said Kentucky students can experience harm from being left with no one to watch them during the teachers' strikes -- in which hundreds of educators called for more pay and greater school resources.
"I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them," Bevin answered Friday.
"I guarantee you somewhere today, a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were home alone because a single parent didn't have any money to take care of them," he added, saying "some were introduced to drugs for the first time because they were vulnerable and left alone."
Sunday, he made a video statement to YouTube.
"Many people have been confused or hurt or just misunderstand what it was that I was trying to communicate," he said. "For those of you who have been hurt, it is my absolute, sincere apology to you.
"It is not my intent to hurt anybody in this process but to help us all move forward together. We need each other. We're in this together. We are Kentucky."
Bevin's comments Friday came as teachers continued protests at the state capitol in Frankfort, demanding lawmakers override the governor's veto of key bills affecting public education.
More than 30 school districts closed for the rallies.