- Associated Press - Friday, March 6, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A lobbyist who used to work as Gov. Sam Brownback’s chief of staff is defending his confrontation with a Topeka teacher he claims was unprofessional in referencing the governor in her speech at a Model UN competition.

But witnesses tell The Topeka Capital-Journal (https://bit.ly/1EkDOGT ) that David Kensinger’s behavior was rude and hostile toward teacher Jenay Weekly.

Weekly reviewed the competition’s history in her Monday speech, noting that organizers were pleased that they secured Brownback as keynote speaker one year when he was a senator. She then asked, “Who could have known?”

Teachers say they interpreted the rhetorical question to mean that no one knew Brownback would later become governor.

Kensinger didn’t say how Weekly’s speech was inappropriate in his email to the newspaper. He said he confronted Weekly as a parent and the he believes that she “compromised the educational environment for the students.”

“It takes a remarkable sense of self-entitlement for an adult to harangue students as a captive audience and then object when a parent of one of those students shares their concerns,” he said.

Witnesses say that the lobbyist approached Weekly after she concluded her speech, and demanded to read it. He allegedly told her that his son said that she had mentioned the governor repeatedly. A review of the speech by the newspaper found one direct mention of the governor.

Weekly said that Kensinger told her that the Model UN event “was not a healthy environment for his son. She told him that the event was a voluntary activity, and that his son was not required to attend.

Kensinger said that when he spoke to the teacher, he was “told to ‘take my son and get out.’”

Teachers who witnessed the confrontation said Weekly was visibly shaken afterward.

“He, in my opinion, I thought, was very rude and very hostile, and rather aggressive in his manner,” said Judy Pierson, a teacher at Jardine Middle School. “It’s possible it was just the case of an irate parent.”

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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