High school students travel to Frankfort in effort to save bill

03/11/2015 05:24 PM

FRANKFORT – Two West Jessamine High School seniors were at the State Capitol on Wednesday trying to save a bill which would have allowed school districts to add a student member to screening committees for superintendents.

The students, Nicole Fielder and Gentry Fitch, who had worked on the bill as part of the Pritchard Committee’s Student Voice Team, spent the day talking to legislators about possibly saving their bill.

House Bill 236, sponsored by Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, which would have allowed a student on public school superintendent screening committees, was passed overwhelmingly by the House.

However, in the GOP controlled Senate, two amendments were added, including one by Sen. C.B. Embry, R-Morgantown, which included his entire Senate Bill 76, known as the “transgender bathroom bill” which would require students to use the bathroom of the sex that they were born.

The students recognize that with the amendments added, the bill would likely not pass this session.

“The amendments to our bill, Senate Bill 76 and Senate Bill 71, would effectively kill our bill,” Fitch said. “Speaker Stumbo said that these amendments will not be heard in the House and this bill would die.”

The students say that it’s important that the bill get passed this session because several districts are currently looking for new superintendents.

“Several counties across the commonwealth are currently in a superintendents search right now, like Fayette County for example,” Fielder said. “That is why are bill is so urgent.”

The students met with a number of legislative members, including Embry, who they say stood firm on his amendment.

“We were worried that he would stay there with his amendment and he did,” Fitch said.

Even though the students fear that their bill will, in all likelihood fail, they say it’s been a great experience and they won’t rule politics out of their futures.

“I do think that I do want to be in government in some respect,” Fitch said. “I don’t know where that’ll be just yet.”

The students plan on staying until the end of the session on Wednesday.


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