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An Associated Press poll of state editors, news directors and reporters voted the Marshall County High School shooting, which claimed the lives of two teens, as the top news story of 2018. We beg to differ.

Not to take anything away from the tragedy at the western Kentucky school, but the story that affected far more Kentuckians statewide, as well as locally, was the political activism shown by the thousands of teachers who descended on the Capitol twice for April rallies.

Each of the state's 120 counties was represented at the Kentucky Education Association rally just days after the legislature passed the now-infamous "sewer bill"-turned-pension-reform bill, which was struck down last week by the state Supreme Court because of the sneaky parliamentary procedure used by lawmakers.

The teachers' loud but peaceful demonstrations, the second of which resulted in numerous school districts across Kentucky having to cancel classes due to substitute teacher shortages, were an example of their commitment to students both in and out of the classroom.

Their sheer strength in numbers -- an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 people congregated around the Capitol building and stretched down Capital Avenue on April 2 -- and solidarity was a testament to their passion to serve.

By being a voice for their children, the teachers sent a loud and clear message to elected officials: We care about and want what is best for all Kentucky students now and in the future.

The effect of the rallies was also felt in the cash registers of Frankfort merchants. Teachers, staff and protestors shopped at downtown businesses and noshed at nearby eateries, pumping much-needed money into the local economy.

While the Marshall County High School shooting was a big story for that region of the state, pension reform has dominated, and continues to grab, headlines. Earlier this week, Gov. Matt Bevin summoned lawmakers back to Frankfort for a special session to consider pension legislation, but the session ended as abruptly as it started and without a resolution.

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