UPDATE: 12-year-old credited with giving W.Va. governor new outlook on teacher strike

(WSAZ)
Published: Feb. 27, 2018 at 10:39 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
UPDATE 2/28/18 @ 4:26 p.m.

In a sea of teachers, parents, and other adults sharing opinions on the statewide teacher strike in West Virginia, a 12-year-old is standing out. Gideon Titus-Glover spoke to WSAZ Wednesday about the attention he's getting after speaking up for educators.

Gov. Jim Justice is crediting the sixth grader from Ohio County for helping him put the teacher pay-raise and insurance work stoppage in perspective.

Justice said at a news conference Tuesday that Gideon's comments made him rethink the situation.

The two first interacted at a town hall meeting Monday in Wheeling.

The middle-schooler says he decided to speak up because he felt offended by some of the governor's comments.

"He called us rednecks while we were there," Gideon said.

Justice said at the town hall, "Believe it or not, I can be the town redneck too. I can."

After the crowd began booing and yelling, Justice said, "Now, listen. I'm not saying that anybody here is that, but you know we can get out there."

"He told us to get smart," Gideon said.

"Do you know why everybody's 'rah-rahing' you out of your mind," Justice told the crowd. "Because it's an election year. That's fact. Be smart. Be smart."

The governor told the crowd that he is passionate about education and even has a teaching degree himself.

Gideon took those words with a grain of salt.

"I was mad," Gideon told WSAZ. "I felt like I had to say something."

Gideon, who is a student at Triadelphia Middle School, asked the governor about investing $20 million in tourism in West Virginia.

After the governor explained investments to Gideon, the student replied with, "if you put money in the schools you will have smart people and if you have smart people you can make smart investments."

The crowd began to cheer and applaud and Justice responded with, "That's an excellent point."

The next day, Justice held a news conference saying he spent the day crunching the numbers, and that with state revenue expected to be up combined with money from tourism, a proposal can be funded.

He is proposing teachers and service personnel would receive a 5 percent raise, and a task force would be set up to deal with PEIA issues. Other state employees would receive a 3 percent raise.

During the news conference, he mentioned his interaction with Gideon. He said the sixth-grader reminded him to think about education as an investment.

"He's right," Justice said. "To be perfectly honest, in a lot of ways I was looking at this maybe not correctly."

Gideon was shocked when he heard about the comment. He says he was at youth group when someone showed him the governor's statement.

"I was surprised," Gideon said. "I was wondering, me?"

Gideon's mom teaches transitional kindergarten at Middle Creek Elementary in Ohio County.

"I think it's a good profession to have," Gideon said. "You're enriching the future."

Although he admits it was nice to have a little break from school, he says, "it kind of got long."

However, he wants to encourage other kids his age to stand up for what they think is right.

"I like to speak out against injustice," Gideon said. "If someone's saying something you don't like, you can speak out against it. You don't have to just sit there and shut up."

Officials at Gideon's school say they are very proud of him.


ORIGINAL STORY 2/27/18

Governor Jim Justice is crediting a sixth-grader from Ohio County for helping him put the teacher pay-raise and insurance work stoppage in perspective.

At a town hall meeting Monday in Wheeling Gideon Titus-Glover, who is a student at Triadelphia Middle School, asked the governor about investing $20 million in tourism in West Virginia.

Gideon said: "if you put money in the schools you will have smart people and if you have smart people you can make smart investments."

Justice said at a news conference Tuesday that Gideon's comments made him rethink the situation.

Under Justice's proposal, teachers and service personnel would receive a 5 percent raise, and a task force would be set up to deal with PEIA issues.

Other state employees would receive a 3 percent raise.

Gov. Justice said Tuesday was spent crunching the numbers and that with state revenue expected to be up combined with money from tourism the proposal can be funded.