West Virginia Student Katelyn Campbell Stands Up To School’s Abstinence-Only Sex Ed

Meet Katelyn Campbell, a high school student council vice president, Wellesley College-bound senior, and sex education rabble-rouser who is filing an injunction against her principal for threats he made after she boycotted and spoke out against an abstinence-only sex-ed assembly at her school.

According to ThinkProgress.org, Principal George Aulenbacher at George Washington High School in West Virginia threatened to call up Wellesley College to complain that Campbell had “bad character” because she refused to attend the abstinence assembly and filed a complaint with the ACLU because the public school event was hosted by a conservative religious organization.

According the West Virginia Gazette, the abstinence-only speaker Pam Stenzel’s anti-science rhetoric included telling students, “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.” The assembly was not only slut-shaming students for having premarital sex, but flat-out factually inaccurate: Stenzel told students that condoms don’t work to prevent sexually transmitted infections.   

Campbell told the Gazette, “West Virginia has the ninth highest pregnancy rate in the U.S.  I should be able to be informed in my school what birth control is and how I can get it.” Indeed, according to Advocates For Youth, 46 percent of high school students in West Virginia reported not having used a condom during their last sexual encounter.

The assembly was funded by “Believe in West Virginia,” a conservative religious organization.  While the principal and school board member interviewed by the Gazette, Becky Jordon, didn’t see anything wrong with the speaker, students and at least one parent did.

Though she might be in rough waters with her current high school, Campbell is already making her future college proud.  Today Wellesley tweeted:

[West Virginia Gazette]
[Guttmacher Institute]
[Advocates for Youth]
[Center for Disease Control and Prevention]

Email me at [email protected]