BOSTON (CBS) – A fourth-grade project to name a state hawk took an unexpected turn when some politicians made fun of the campaign, even turning it into a debate about abortion.
“I guess the shame of making this a state bird is it would serve better as a mascot for Planned Parenthood,” said Rep. Warren Groen, R-Rochester, on the House floor on Thursday. It’s comments like this and others that have New Hampshire teachers and lawmakers calling for an apology to the Lincoln Akerman School in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire.
“This is disdainful,” said Principal Mark DeBlois. “This is mocking what these kids’ efforts have been.”
As part of a civics project, the students, including 9-year-old Maya Roka, crafted a bill so the red-tailed hawk would be the official state raptor. But, when they presented it to the full House it ultimately got voted down and turned ugly.
“It was kind of sad because we had been working on it for quite a while,” said Roka.
Groen could not be reached for comment.
Rep. Christine Bartlett, D-Concord, voted against the bill but she did take issue with Groen’s remarks, calling his analogy to abortion “way off base.”
“I think he certainly owes the kids an apology,” she said.
Rep. Renny Cunningham, D-Rockingham, said he plans to speak to the House in public session to seek an apology from his fellow lawmakers.