FRANKFORT, Ky. — A group of bright-eyed, clean-cut high school students whose ideas of government were shaped by “Schoolhouse Rock” wrote a bill and watched it sail through the Kentucky state legislature this year in the type of feel-good story that had parents beaming.

But politics can ruin anything.

The bill would let high school students be appointed to committees that screen new school superintendents. But at the last moment, a Republican state senator pulled an old legislative trick, tacking a controversial amendment he wants passed to their widely supported bill. Then another added a contentious amendment of his own.

Now, with two more days left in the 2015 legislative session, the students who were expecting “Schoolhouse Rock” were instead being confronted with “House of Cards.”

“That’s the way it works,” said Republican Sen. C.B. Embry, who filed the first amendment, which would force transgender students to use separate bathrooms in public schools. That amendment had previously passed the Republican-controlled Senate but died in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

“The ball is in the House’s court. If it doesn’t (pass), it’s not my fault, it’s theirs for not giving it a hearing or allowing it to go to a conference committee,” he said.

A second amendment, similarly unpopular in the House, would let students “voluntarily express religious or political viewpoints” in schools without fear of discrimination.

The students have fought back, but with little success. Three of them skipped school Wednesday – with permission – to travel to Frankfort, where they earnestly roamed the halls of the Capitol carrying signs that say “student voice matters.” “I took AP government a couple of years ago and definitely did not learn about this side of politics,” said 16-year-old Eliza Jane Schaeffer.

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