George Washington High School in West Virginia is, I assume, burdened with the same charge of all other public schools: teach children factually correct information. And by virtue of teaching some facts, you must necessarily teach that some other claims are not true. If George Washington was the first President, then it wasn’t Genghis Kahn. If evolution is true, then all animals were not made as they are at a single point in time. The list goes on and on.
Some people don’t get that, and think we should teach competing ideas, even if they are unsupported by the facts (and even if they are in direct conflict with the facts) because appeasing ill-informed people is more important than educating children. The principal at GWHS, George Aulenbacher, is apparently in the latter category.
George Washington High School recently hosted a conservative speaker, Pam Stenzel, who travels around the country to advocate an abstinence-only approach to teen sexuality. Stenzel has a long history of using inflammatory rhetoric to convince young people that they will face dire consequences for becoming sexually active. At GW’s assembly, Stenzel allegedly told 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 asserted that condoms aren’t safe, and every instance of sexual contact will lead to a sexually transmitted infection.
None of that is factually true. Once a person like that is given the spot at a podium by a school, education has ceased to be their business. Thankfully, a student at the school, Katelyn Campbell, understands what education means, even if the people calling themselves educators don’t.
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.
This did not sit very well with Aulenbacher:
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 cant speak up because of fear of retaliation,” she said of the incident.
First, read up on the history of Wellesley College and good luck besmirching the character of a young woman standing up for women’s reproductive rights. Here, the college will help you via their twitter:
— Wellesley College (@Wellesley) April 17, 2013
So yeah, how’s that working out for you?
Despite being threatened, Campbell is not backing down. She hopes that filing this injunction will protect her freedom of speech to continue advocating for comprehensive sexual health resources for West Virginia’s youth. “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.”
George Aulenbacher needs to be fired before he can hand over a heaping pile of his district’s money to the ACLU. Perhaps he can find a job suited to people who lie about sex and other facts. I’d suggest being a preacher, but church attendance across America is waning and seeking a job in a declining industry is just not smart.
Never mind, Aulenbacher’s a perfect candidate.