Last week, fourth-grade students from the Lincoln Akerman School in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire got a lesson in more than just civics when they brought a bill to make the Red-Tailed Hawk the official state raptor to the state’s House of Representatives. They learned just how dysfunctional and ridiculous today’s government really is.
The students proposed the bill as part of a school project, one they had worked on for months, NH1 News reported.
Lawmakers didn’t simply vote against the fourth-graders’ bill, they openly made fun of it.
“We’ll be picking a state hot dog next,” said one of the representatives.
Others used a bill about a bird into a chance to spew anti-abortion rhetoric — in front of 9- and 10-year-olds.
“It grasps them with its talons and then uses its razor sharp beak to basically tear it apart limb by limb,” said Republican Rep. Warren Groen. “And I guess the shame about making this a state bird is it would serve as a much better mascot for Planned Parenthood.”
Ultimately, the bill was defeated, 133-160.
Both parents of the children present and fellow state representatives were outraged at the House’s treatment of the students’ bill.
“We were all shocked by the behavior of the individuals that spoke the way they did,” said Nancy Roka, a parent of one of the fourth graders. “Certain individuals turned it into a grandstand for their own issues.”
“I think it’s clear that the adults that day in Representative’s Hall were in the gallery, not on the floor,” said Rep. Renny Cushing, who sponsored the students’ bill.
Cushing also said that he is going to publicly apologize to the fourth graders and is going to speak to the House about their awful behavior.
Watch NH1‘s coverage of the students’ bill and the fallout from the legislators’ remarks.