A senior at George Washington High School in Kanawha County is seeking an injunction against GW Principal George Aulenbacher.

Katelyn Campbell claims Aulenbacher threatened her after she spoke to the media about an assembly promoting abstinence-only sex education.

Jennifer Smith/MetroNews

George Washing High School student Katelyn Campbell has filed a lawsuit against her principal.

Campbell claimed during a news conference Monday, the students were told the assembly was about STD’s. But she says it was nothing more than an “extremist right wing agenda” presented by nationally known speaker Pam Stenzel and paid for by the group ‘Believe in West Virginia,’ a Christ-centered leadership foundation.

During the assembly Stenzel said the following about a promiscuous boy asking a girl for her hand in marriage. “You say, ‘Marry me. By the way, I have genital warts. You’ll get it too. We’ll both be treated for the rest of our lives. In fact, you’ll probably end up with a radical hysterectomy, cervical cancer and possibly death. But marry me.’”

Campbell opted out of the assembly. But she heard every word Stenzel spoke when she listened back to the speech a friend had recorded on an I-Phone. Campbell was so disturbed, she spoke with both the Charleston Gazette and Charleston Daily Mail criticizing the speech and the message it sent to students. She says it was her First Amendment right.

But on Thursday, she was called to the principal’s office where she says Aulenbacher told her, “‘I’m very disappointed in you.” I asked him why? He said, ‘How dare you go to the media without telling me.’”

Campbell says that’s when Aulenbacher made this threat. “How would you feel if I called your college and tell them what a bad character you have and what a backstabber you are?”

Campbell has been accepted to Wellesley. She felt Aulenbacher would make good on his threat.

“Based on his tone, I’m pretty sure the threat was real,” according to Campbell.

She says she left that meeting in tears feeling as if Aulenbacher would retaliate.

Since then, Campbell has retained an attorney and filed the complaint in Kanawha Circuit Court that was released Monday:

“Because he knowingly psychologically abused the student body of George Washington High School, we are demanding his resignation. And in conjunction with his resignation, we would like a letter of apology to the community and the student body of George Washington High School.”

Campbell says she may only be 17 but she still has the right to free speech. In fact, she used it on Monday, appearing live on CNN to talk about the controversy.

MetroNews made calls to both Aulenbacher and Kanawha County Superintendent Dr. Ron Duerring for comment, however, they were not returned.

bubble graphic

101

bubble graphic

Comments

  • JohnQ

    West Virginia's own Sandra Fluke?

    Just putting it out there ....

    • Charleston,WV

      +1. I was thinking the very same. What's peculiar about this whole incident is the fact that she is using the Kanawha County Circuit court for a "psychological abuse" as though he made a threat. Why do we need the court system for this simple matter? Also, where was the threat? Wouldn't you think his statement (albeit poor word choice of backstabber) was made to convey a message In my opinion, his comments were garnered to convey a point: If you were not forced to go to the assembly, then why make hay that you were being forced to in the first place? If I were a principal these days I wouldn't want any negative media with my school during my tenure either. This whole situation doesn't sit well with me.

      • Charleston,WV

        Also in reference to my comments above I have now read two different storylines pertaining to the incident. One from the Daily Mail stated that she was not given the "opt out" option with regards to the assembly, whereas Metronews stated that she was given this option.?????

  • Grant

    Judging by her accounts of the speech vs the teachers accounts, I question this young lady's credibility. She sounds like she has her own uber liberal, attention getting agenda and needs to grow up

  • Joel

    The girl is 17. And we know a 17 year old has never cooked up a story before to get their way.The principal may have never made any threats at all. Why is the burden of proof in his court? He's an adult. If he did say that hes an idiot. But somebody besides a teenage girl that got in trouble at school is going to have to corroborate that

  • thornton

    Wellesley College may be the backstory here but the Principal's comments, if true, could not have been more ignorantly chosen.

  • Mike

    This is ridiculous. That little girl is just a spoiled brat and is taking advantage of the media and her "rights", which is overused in this situation, she's a student. She should act like one. If it were 20 years ago, she would have been in big trouble.

    This is what's wrong with the world today, Crybabies, a generation of self absorbed crybabies that think they have the right to belittle a Principal for doing his job.

    This girl is pathetic.

    • chad

      "rights"??? There should be no qoutes around the word rights. Free speech is her right. It does not matter if she is 17 or 77. She has a right to voice her opinion. the principal does not have the right to sabotage her college career for expressing those rights.

      • Sherry

        Agree. This is bullying by school system staff. He used poor judgement & there needs to be consequences. Her and her parents' political idealogy has nothing to do with her right to free speech and her being bullied & harassed by this principal. I don't think this is typical behavior of educators. Most are dedicated to educating students and to assuring that they are not being bullied.

      • wv4evah

        chad..you are absolutely right.

      • Liz

        Pssst- Mike- it's "whether," not "weather." Just as a basic starting point.

      • amtriska

        It's not a "loophole." It's what the first amendment is for: to protect unpopular opinions. You think the first amendment is there to protect speech that everyone agrees with? It's disgusting that he felt the need to berate a young girl for telling the truth (remember, the assembly was audio recorded) about the quality of the school's sex education.

  • Clint

    The guest speaker's topic is secondary here. The issue is this: Does the student have the right to object to the speaker's message (just as the speaker has the right to deliver the type of message she did)? If so, and I think we can all agree both student and speaker are free to speak their minds, then is the principal right for telling the student he is going to call the college of her choice and tell college officials she has "a bad character" and is a "backstabber" for exercising her rights?

    • hughesknight

      both the speaker and the student have the right to free speech. It would be good to know the actual conversation between the principal and the student. If as some have reported here the principal has threatened her and or suggested that the college of her choice would be contacted, then the principal is in a pickel. the real issue is that there are a number of adults that are inciting and encouraging this young lady to step out front. People apparently with no portfolio except a political agneda that need a project. I admire her but this has escalated not because of the principal or the young lady but because of zealous adults that have sniffed out a "conspiracy."

  • Jon

    I just don't see how the student body was psychologically abused, with what, the truth. This young lady is a real good example of what a really bad educational system produces. A know-it-all who thinks only her liberal voice should be hear and everyone else's silenced.

    • Larry

      I am with you, I can only imagine the left-wing drivel that this kid has been fed by her parents her whole life, very sad. If kids these days need anything, it's to be more Christ like.

    • amtriska

      All she did was tell the press what she had heard in the assembly. If the principal didn't want that getting out, that speaks to the quality of the sex ed provided.

  • JoeJoe

    Would she have felt the same way if the seminar was about pro-choice???? Doubtful.

  • ryan

    Definately an agenda, Pam may be a little crass but she tells the truth. This girl should have gone if she wants to complain, kinda hard to be on het side while she Monday morning quarterbacks kids need to here the abstinent message first before they hear about contraception. Once they fully understand the consequences of sex then they can learn how to protect themselves. And if a principle is threatening kids he is a douchebag

  • chad

    Bottom line is this girl is smarter than the principal.......waaaaaaay smarter.

    • MrJ

      I'm sure there are staff and faculty that would agree, Chad.

      • Teacher Guy

        Actually, I'm a teacher at that school, and I have to agree with Chad. Aulenbacher has been destroying everything that made this school great under his reign. This isn't even the first threat he's made to somebody, as he's threatened me before. Heck, I'm thrilled that Ms. Campbell here has more courage than most of the teachers in this building. I had her in class once, and she's a real gem. Watch out, world. This girl's going places, and it's ALL deserved/earned.

        • Mike

          Courage...you mean like putting your name on a post rather than some alias? I think this girl should enjoy her 15 minutes and move along.

          • Shadow

            I didn't see your last name on your post and you don't even work for a vindictive person. I was glad he spoke out.

        • ISUPPORTKATELYN

          Bravo Teacher Guy, Bravo!

  • steve

    So she has first amendment rights to speak, but the principal doesn't?

    • chad

      The principal does not have a right to threaten the student. Nobody has a right to make threats. It's called harrassment.

      • steve

        No, chad the first amendment says he has freedom of speech. He didn't "threaten" her. If his opinion is that "she's a spoiled little brat" he has every right to say that to whomever he chooses.

        • Stephanie

          He did threaten her and you don't have a free speech right to threaten a student.

  • JohnQ

    Wow.

    The principal made a not so veiled threat about sabotaging this young woman's college future?

    Seems Ms.Campbell is more mature and responsible than the person in charge of the school.

    Also, though I am for all aspects of sexual health and reproductive rights being freely discussed and presented on the secondary level, including abstinence, if this presentation was misrepresented anyone who promoted that deception needs to be disciplined.

    What makes me think Mr.Aulenbacher is neck deep on both counts ...

    If guilty, fire him.

    • JohnQ

      Upon re-read, I'm going to back track a bit. I sense a political agenda on the part of the student and possibly the want to be provocative.

      If the problem has to do with the fact that someone was allowed to present opinions and facts that Ms.Campbell simply disagreed with, then she needs to learn a lesson as well.

      • Joel

        Right on JohnQ. My thoughts too. I think both sides need to back off, cool down, and go on their way.

      • Patrick

        Agreed!

    • leroy jethro gibbs

      since when do students have any rights?
      any way it is true that genital warts can cause cervical cancer

      • dz

        No. Genital warts and cervical cancer are both caused by different strains of a virus called HPV. Different. Strains.

      • ALF

        Low risk HPV causes warts, but does not lead to cancer. Cervical cancer is caused by high risk HPV, which does not cause warts or any other visible symptoms. Upwards of 80% of sexually active people in this country contract high risk HPV at some point, but don't notice unless they are tested. Doctors now say the virus is usually kicked out of your system in about a year. Pap smears show abnormal changes on the cervics as a result of HPV. If it looks like it might become cancerous it can be treated. The women who are most at risk are the ones who don't clear it out of their system for years and years, but never get tested, in which case it may eventually become cancerous without their knowing and without receiving treatment. That's why all women know are expected to get yearly pap smears. There is also an actual test for the virus, but it is only administered to women. Men aren't tested since they are not at risk, which clears them of the burden of responsibility when they unknowingly give it to their partners.

  • BigDave

    I'm all for the speaker. I'm also for the student's right to criticize her.

    • Jennifer

      I agree with BigDave, the speaker has a right to her speech and so does the student. The prinicpal, on the other hand, mishandled the situation (if what the student says is true).

  • mike dineen

    Why don't they just teach the kids the facts. One thing we know for sure is abstinence only does not work never has, never will.As for the principal he really screwed up

    • JohnQ

      Abstinence is the only 100% effective prophylactic against unwanted pregnancy and disease. It should always be part of the discussion.

      • Cortney

        That's true, but Abstinence ONLY education is never the way to go. Kids will screw each other no matter what you tell them or how bad you say it is, so you might as well educate them on the facts and how to do it safely and responsibly

        • JohnQ

          I think many kids will think twice about having sex if they are presented with what the consequences, many lifetime, can be especially if it's not sugar coated. I think this presentation is in the "Scared Straight" model, which some might find offensive.

          I've been listening to radio coverage of this on NPR and other outlets today and the more I hear, the more I view the student as trying to push her agenda which seems to be anything that has a "religious" overtone is not to be tolerated no matter how valid the points being made.

          She's been accepted at Wellesley, an extremely liberal and politically correct school. Perhaps her actions are skewed to some personal gain by escalating this so quickly and publicly.

          I don't think she's completely innocent in her actions, but I'm not making excuses for the principal. If he indeed threatened her future in the manner indicated then he was seriously wrong, as well as if he misrepresented the speaker to which Ms.Campbell objects.

          Let's cool the rhetoric on both sides and see what really happened before judgement is passed.

          FYI: Registered Democrat and Atheist, I have no ideological dog in this fight.

          • Patrick

            I concur, JohnQ.

          • dz

            Presenting students with the consequences of sexual activity IS part of comprehensive sex ed. It's just done in a factual manner. It's a matter of scare tactics vs. good information. Scare tactics aren't just "offensive." They're ineffective.

        • Patrick

          True, Courtney! But, we're not sure if they haven't been taught other things throughout the year. Although, you are correct, it most likely will occur, and even though abstinence is the ONLY thing that will stop unwanted pregnancies in young people, and the spreading of STD's, not even close to 50% even follow this plan. Both have to be taught. Although....ramifications of diseases and unwanted pregnancies should be presented in real life instances. What was presented, according to "precious" was truth. Whether she liked it or not. Facts are facts. My sister-in-law dated after a divorce and got genital herpes from a lawyer! Now, she has to live with this for the rest of her life. A true consequence that must be talked about as unpleasant as it is.

        • Jonesy

          I think kids have all the "facts". An internet search can get you more than you would ever want to know. What they do need is a reason to say NO whether through a moral choice or exposure to the consequences. Even "safe" sex is never 100% safe. It's spinning the roulette wheel and you don't want to loose. Abstinence until marriage is the most "safe" method. They need to know that of a few minutes of pleasure may bring a lifetime of pain

      • Stephanie

        This woman isn't just teaching abstinence. She is teaching lies.

    • Patrick

      Mike D., one thing that we DO know is that abstinence DOES PREVENT unwanted pregnancy, and fear of STD. That being said, obviously very few tend to follow this way of thinking, including myself. I was once 15/16 years not too, too long ago! The principal should have been very aware of who this young thorn in the side was that he was dealing with. She's obviously been vocally involved with liberally leaning causes before now. Both or one of her parents is a liberal lawyer/attorney, and have made their thought clearly heard sometime in the past. And most of all, they've been waiting patiently for this one moment to occur so that they can teach these "backward", "Christian", "conservative" people in this state a lesson or two, by trudging this school, its principal, and the state through the news. The intent is clearly shown with the over-the-top reaction from this girl and the help from her parents. Well, unfortunately, the principal is learning very quickly what it feels like to have a knife planted squarely into his back from an all too willing assassinator of character, which is yet another sign of the mindset where they ate coming from.

      • Matthew

        Patrick, do you have evidence of this pre-meditation or is this simply speculation and an unsubstantiated accusation?

    • Doug

      I guess it's also pointless telling kids not to do drugs either, because they're just going to do them anyway, right?

      As a kid, my parents made it very clear to me the consequences of promiscuity and it worked. It can and does work. It's foolish to say it shouldn't be on the first line in trying to stop teen pregnancy.

  • Mike

    Got to support this young lady on this one. I like Aulenbacher but he stepped in a pile here and should have known better.

    • GregG

      I agree Mike. Once again, we have a religious group forcing their agenda in our schools by hiring Pam Stenzel to spew her views. Yet, when one students voices her opinion, her future is threatened by principal Aulenbacher. As I have said many times before, keep your religion in your own home and place of worship. I have to wonder how the same religious folks that support this so called abstinence teaching would feel about the porn industry visiting our schools during career day?

      • GregG

        2 days and still waiting to be posted. Would you like to share what you deem so "bad" with my comment? It's seem I'm getting the same treatment as Ms. Campbell.

    • cutty77

      Some people cant handle power.Sounds like this a perfect case for that. George don't act like your Her Dad. This is a Comment ONLY A FATHER OR MOTHER WOULD ASK. Good Lord Man,have you Lost it.

    • GregG

      Well let's try this since 2 days has gone by without my comments being posted.

      I agree Mike. Once again, we have a religious group forcing their agenda in our schools by hiring Pam Stenzel to spew her views. Yet, when one students voices her opinion, her future is threatened by principal Aulenbacher. As I have said many times before, keep your religion in your own home and place of worship. I have to wonder how the same religious folks that support this so called abstinence teaching would feel about the Adult Film industry visiting our schools during career day?

      There, is that better Mr/Ms Moderator?