DISCRETIONARY REVIEW FROM BRECKINRIDGE CIRCUIT COURT .
HONORABLE BRUCE T. BUTLER, JUDGE ACTION NO. 15-XX-00003
FOR APPELLANT: John Gerhart Landon Frankfort, Kentucky Ronald
Pence Rineyville, Kentucky.
FOR APPELLEE: Andy G. Beshear Attorney General of Kentucky
James Havey Frankfort, Kentucky.
BEFORE: COMBS, D. LAMBERT, AND NICKELL, JUDGES.
LAMBERT, D., JUDGE
Masters challenges the constitutionality of Kentucky Revised
Statutes (KRS) 161.190, a Kentucky statute addressing teacher
abuse. The Breckinridge District Court held the statute
constitutional, and the Breckinridge Circuit Court affirmed.
This Court granted discretionary review and now affirms.
December 2014, Masters got into a verbal disagreement with
Keith Haynes, the principal of Clover Independent Schools.
The disagreement took place in the foyer of the school
building after Haynes reneged on a deal to help Masters, a
graduate school student, complete a school project.
the disagreement, Haynes asked Masters to leave the school
premises multiple times. Masters responded by calling Haynes
a profane name and proposing that the two resolve their
differences by fighting outside. Specifically, Masters
invited Haynes to meet him outside so he could "kick
[Haynes'] ass." Masters left after Haynes declined
Masters was off campus, Haynes placed the school in a
temporary lock down. Haynes also contacted the Breckinridge
County Attorney's office to have a criminal complaint
issued. Masters was charged with violating KRS 161.190, a
misdemeanor offense, two days later. The full text of the
statute reads as follows:
Whenever a teacher, classified employee, or school
administrator is functioning in his capacity as an employee
of a board of education of a public school system, it shall
be unlawful for any person to direct speech or conduct toward
the teacher, classified employee, or school administrator
when such person knows or should know that the speech or
conduct will disrupt or interfere with normal school
activities or will nullify or undermine the good order and
discipline of the school.
subsequent criminal proceedings, Masters filed a motion
challenging the constitutionality of KRS
161.190. The statute, from Masters'
perspective, punished more behavior than necessary, did not
define some of its key terms, and chilled otherwise protected
speech. The district court denied the motion. A jury
ultimately found Masters guilty of the offense, and he was
his conviction and sentence, Masters appealed the case to the
circuit court. He once again argued that KRS 161.190 was
unconstitutional. The circuit court disagreed and explained
in a thorough opinion and order that the statute was neither
overbroad nor vague. The circuit court also ruled that the
words Masters used were not protected speech, but
"fighting words" under Chaplinsky v. State of
New Hampshire, 315 ...