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West Virginia High School Student Katelyn Campbell Protests ‘Slut-Shaming’ Abstinence Crusader Pam Stenzel

Katelyn Campbell (Photo: Facebook)

Katelyn Campbell (Photo: Facebook)

A West Virginia high school student is seeking an injunction against her principal after he allegedly threatened to contact the college she will attend after graduating and defame her character because she protested a sex-negative school assembly.

The Charleston Gazette reports that Katelyn Campbell, a senior and student body vice president at George Washington High School in Charleston, has asked for an injunction in Kanawha Circuit Court against Principal George Aulenbacher. Campbell wants Aulenbacher to resign and apologize for allegedly threatening to contact Wellesley College, the prestigious Massachusetts women’s university where she will attend after graduating, and defame her by accusing her of having “bad character.”

The injunction seeks to bar Aulenbacher from retaliating against Campbell for exercising her constitutional right to free speech.

Aulenbacher’s alleged threat was made after Campbell protested a mandatory school assembly at which the guest speaker was Pam Stenzel, a conservative Christian abstinence crusader who gets paid between $4,000 and $6,000 per appearance to lecture teens about “God’s plan for sexual purity” and “the consequences, both physical and emotional, of sex outside of marriage.”

In YouTube videos of previous lectures, Stenzel spreads misleading sex-negative messages, like women who take birth control are “10 times more likely to contract a disease… or end up sterile or dead.”

“Sex could damage you for the rest of your life… you need to ask Jesus for forgiveness,” she says in one presentation.

Campbell refused to attend the assembly, where Stenzel told students that “condoms aren’t safe” and that any sexual activity would result in sexually-transmitted diseases and infertility. Stenzel also told GWHS students that they were “impure” if they had sex before marriage and, allegedly, that “if your mom gives you birth control, she probably hates you.”

Although Campbell said Stenzel kept her lecture religion-free, she still plans on filing a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) due to what she called Stenzel’s “slut-shaming” and misinformation meant to “scare students into abstaining from sex.”

“Many students felt uncomfortable with her outright condemnation of any and everyone who has ever had premarital sexual contact,” Campbell told the Gazette. “Stenzel’s overall attitude was that any type of sex will guarantee the contraction of an STD or an unwanted pregnancy.”

Campbell and another male student, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Gazette that Stenzel’s loud, abrasive delivery made some girls in the audience cry.

“While her intentions may have been good, her tone was very loud, like she was shaming everyone in the audience,” the male student said. “She was making girls cry. There were pregnant girls in the audience and she was implying, if you had sex, you’re not an OK person.”

School officials said they did not find anything wrong or offensive about Stenzel’s presentation.

“The only way to guarantee safety is abstinence,” Principal Aulenbacher told the Gazette.

Kanawha County School Board member Becky Jordon also defended Stenzler.

“As a parent and a board member, I was glad she was there,” Jordon told the Gazette. “Kids all over Kanawha County need to hear her message. I’m just sad it couldn’t have been in all high schools and middle schools. Kids need to understand that what they think is one night of fun can change their lives forever.”

Study after study, however, has concluded that abstinence-only sex education does not work or even effectively promote abstinence– teen pregnancy rates are significantly higher in states where abstinence-only models of sex education are favored.

“West Virginia has the ninth-highest pregnancy rate in the US,” 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.”

Campbell said that Aulenbacher “knowingly psychologically abused students” by forcing them to attend Stenzel’s lecture.

Aulenbacher reportedly called Campbell into his office, where he allegedly told her he was “disappointed” in her. He allegedly threatened to contact Wellesley College, where she’d been accepted and will attend next school year, and defame her.

“How would you feel if I called your college and told them what bad character you have and what a backstabber you are?” he allegedly asked.

“I said, ‘Go ahead,'” Campbell told the Gazette. “He continued to berate me in his office. I’m not an emotional person, but I cried. He threatened me and my future to put forth his own personal agenda and made teachers and students feel they can’t speak up because of fear of retaliation.”

If the allegations against Aulenbacher are true, he certainly seems to have chosen the wrong university to consider contacting about Campbell. Wellesley is a famously liberal women’s college, and upon learning of this story, the school released a statement backing Campbell and welcoming her to the campus in the fall:

Wellesley College is delighted to welcome Katelyn Campbell as a member of the Class of 2017 this fall. The Wellesley community fosters a living and learning environment where diverse opinions, ideas and perspectives are not only welcomed, they are encouraged.

The school also expressed its support for Campbell on Twitter and Facebook, and a group of Wellesley students posted a petition/letter on Change.org.

“Your Wellesley sisters stand with you,” the letter reads. “We think you’ll fit right in… We applaud you for recognizing the importance of a woman’s right to information that allows her to govern her body and make autonomous choices about her health…”

“That your principal would believe that a call to Wellesley to inform them of this issue would be a threat to your admission status is laughable,” the letter continues. “In reality, your actions prove that the College couldn’t be a better fit.”

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