There’s a reason that some people think the word “politician” actually has just four letters.
C.B. Embry Jr.
A case in point is state Sen. C.B. Embry Jr., who has spent the entire 2015 session of the Kentucky General Assembly with laser focus on what must be the most important issue in Morgantown, Ky.: whether or not a transgender student can use the bathroom of the sex with which they identify.
I didn’t realize it, but Morgantown must be known for this sort of thing.
His laser-focus on this issue, unfortunately for him and for a group of high schools students, has given Embry a blind spot for exactly how his actions would be viewed around the state and country, and could help to send a whole new generation of students on a path of thinking the worst of those who make our laws.
Here’s a little history of Embry’s issue and the bill that he has thought prudent to mess with in a fit of pique.
It started last year when a site-based decision-making council at Louisville’s Atherton High School voted to allow transgender students to use restrooms of the sex they identify with — certainly controversial.
Embry swept into the Senate this year with a bill that would prohibit that and allow students to sue if they saw a student born with the other sex’s parts in the restroom or locker room. It passed the state Senate but has failed to get a vote in the House Education Committee.
Along comes a group of students from the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence that are pushing for House Bill 236, which would allow school districts to appoint students to committees that screen new superintendent candidates.
The bill sailed through the House on a bipartisan vote of 88-5 and easily cleared the Senate Education Committee.
The students are part of a Prichard Committee group called the Student Voice Team, which pushes for ways that students can be more involved in their education. They wrote the bill and got state Rep. Derrick Graham, a retired educator from Frankfort, to sponsor it.
Parents were proud. Students were happy. Embry was ticked.
He was ticked that his Senate Bill 76 can’t get a hearing in the state House, so Embry decided that he would try and attach it as an amendment to HB 236, a move that will likely kill the student’s measure. The bill is sitting in the Senate, still waiting on a vote.
Students were dumbfounded.
“I took AP government a couple of years ago and definitely did not learn about this side of politics,” Eliza Jane Schaeffer, a 16-year-old junior at Henry Clay High School in Lexington told the Associated Press.
“Students are really confused,” Rachel Belin, Student Voice Team director, told The Courier-Journal’s Mike Wynn. “They did all their homework. They followed all the rules, and they are utterly confused why people would try to piggyback on their hard work.”
But Embry was unapologetic.
“That’s the way it works,” he told the AP.
So you’ll forgive these students for thinking the word “politician” has just four letters. But don’t blame a failure in the education they’re receiving in school for their inability to correctly count the letters. Blame it on the lesson that Embry is giving them.