A West Virginia high school student is being persecuted for raising her voice for adequate sex-education. Katelyn Campbell, student body vice president at George Washington High School, is filing an injunction against her principal after he threatened to ruin her chances of attending a college she’s been accepted to by reporting her “bad character.”
All of this stems from Campbell’s refusal to attend an assembly featuring conservative abstinence-only lecturer, Pam Stenzel. Stenzel encourages students to remain abstinent or their mothers will hate them. No, seriously. She allegedly told GW students that “if you take birth control, your mother probably hates you” and “I could look at any one of you in the eyes right now and tell if you’re going to be promiscuous.” She also attempted to tell students that all sex will lead to a STD or STI.
I guess it’s much easier to scare teenagers than teach them to protect themselves. Campbell agrees. She wasn’t having it.
Think Progress reports:
“Campbell refused to attend the assembly, which was funded by a conservative religious organization called ‘Believe in West Virginia’ and advertised with fliers that proclaimed ‘God’s plan for sexual purity.’ Instead, she filed a complaint with the ACLU and began to speak out about her objections to this type of school-sponsored event. Campbell called Stenzel’s presentation ‘slut shaming’ and said that it made many students uncomfortable.
GW Principal George Aulenbacher, on the other hand, didn’t see anything wrong with hosting Stenzel. ‘The only way to guarantee safety is abstinence. Sometimes, that can be a touchy topic, but I was not offended by her,’ he told the West Virginia Gazette last week.
But it didn’t end with a simple difference of opinion among Campbell and her principal. The high school senior alleges that Aulenbacher threatened to call Wellesley College, where Campbell has been accepted to study in the fall, after she spoke to the press about her objections to the assembly. According to Campbell, her principal said, ‘How would you feel if I called your college and told them what bad character you have and what a backstabber you are?’ Campbell alleges that Aulenbacher continued to berate her in his office, eventually driving her to tears. ‘He threatened me and my future in order to put forth his own personal agenda and make teachers and students feel they can’t speak up because of fear of retaliation,’ she said of the incident.”
We should be encouraging students to use their voices rather than attempting to silence them. Thankfully Campbell is continuing to exercise her First Amendment right.
“West Virginia has the ninth highest pregnancy rate in the U.S.,” Campbell told the Gazette. “I should be able to be informed in my school what birth control is and how I can get it. With the policy at GW, under George Aulenbacher, information about birth control and sex education has been suppressed. Our nurse wasn’t allowed to talk about where you can get birth control for free in the city of Charleston.”
Nothing is safer than abstinence, but we don’t live in Oz. We reside in reality where 60 percent of teenagers are receiving misinformation about birth control. This has to stop in order to lessen teen pregnancy and STD rates.
Some of Campbell’s peers agree and are rallying with her. She’s planning to address the failures of abstinence-only education at a local board of education meeting tonight.