Student Voice Team member Eliza Jane Schaffer and adviser Rachel Belin appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show last night. (Kentucky story begins at 4:10)
The amendments were proposed by state Sens. CB Embry, Jr. and Albert Robinson. One would require transgender students to use bathrooms based on their sex when they were born. Another would allow students to express their religious or political views in school without facing discrimination.
Robinson, who proposed the latter amendment, told Morning Education (source via email) that thousands of people support it, whereas not one of his constituents has called about the superintendent screening bill. He said he never intended to kill the students' bill; in fact, he thought his amendment would help it pass. But the students have been "irrational" and they've resorted to personal attacks, Robinson said. As a result, he doesn't want to meet with them. "They're not reasonable people," he said, "and frankly, I don't know if they should be picking superintendents."
The students have taken to Twitter with the hashtag #saveourbill and they're reaching out to media to spread the word. Andrew Brennan, one of the students behind the effort, told Morning Education that state senators have told them "that this is just how the game is played." His response: "This is a bipartisan piece of legislation. It shouldn't be politicized."
The students said they haven't been thrilled with past media coverage of their campaign. Reports have portrayed them as naïve and confused about the political process, said Eliza Jane Schaeffer. "While we were shocked when the amendments were added, we understand what's happening," she said. The story is no longer about naïve students, or even about who should screen superintendents, the students said. They see it as a story about a dysfunctional political system that silences student voice.