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Rep. Bobby Cleveland To Teachers: 'They Should Be In The Classroom'

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Teachers have been meeting with their legislators on Monday. And, at least one of them, Rep. Bobby Cleveland from Norman, had some strong language for educators during a phone interview on News 9 This Morning.

Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Norman, is taking some heat for his comments, when he was asked about his thoughts about an extended walkout.

"They were hired to teach. They should be in the classroom," Cleveland said to News 9's Robin Marsh during an interview Monday morning.

Cleveland said he has gotten a lot of calls since he voted against the teacher raise. He said he stands by his vote because legislators were not given enough time to digest the bill. And because he doesn't believe it offers enough money for classrooms. But the conversations have been less than pleasant.

“So far they told me I was ignorant. And they call me stupid and these are the first words out of their mouth. We've had a number of calls that use the ‘F’ word about 50 times when they called. They haven't been nice," Cleveland said.

Cleveland says he supports properly funding education, but says leaders should focus more on identifying waste and abuse at the capitol and less on raising taxes.

Monday evening, Rep. Cleveland said he wants to clarity his comment made during the live interview on News 9 This Morning. He said he didn't mean the comment the way it came out - he misspoke. 

"What I was talking about was, I'm sorry they're here. I wish we weren't in this mess. I've voted for teacher pay raises numerous time since I've been here. I've got a record. You can go look up my record," said. Rep. Cleveland.

He said he supports education funding, but want to focus more identifying waste at the Capitol and less on raising taxes. 

Read other stories on the Oklahoma School Shutdown.

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