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.

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Comments

  • Mike Hawk

    He really had it coming.

  • M K Keen

    Thank you, Katelyn Campbell, for taking legal action against the principal of your school, if he made these types of statements, and for standing up to fight against what are viewed by many as being ill-informed, purported "specialists" in sexual health education. I deeply respect your principled stance, and your courage.

    I view the behavior and actions by your principal as being abusive and deceitful, if your reporting on that is accurate. I was not a witness to the exchange, but I am giving the benefit of the doubt at this point, based on the fact that you made the effort to file a suit with the ACLU, and reported the issue to the press. I refuse to accept statements that you allege the principal made as being in any way appropriate. I am glad that you didn't, either, if anyone behaved in this manner toward you, at any time.

    Thank you for welcoming the press to cover this story, so that people like me would know what happened. I support comprehensive sexual health education that is non-judgmental, accurate, and current. I oppose any "abstinence only" non-education programs, because they actually increase public health problems while promoting a narrow-minded, poorly-informed agenda of fringe, right-wing, charismatic Protestant religious zealots. I totally oppose taxpayer funding for it for the same reasons, and I believe that it should be illegal.

    When I say that I oppose "abstinence only" education, I mean individual lectures, such as ones presented by Pam Stenzel, that are a part of a larger program of education, and "abstinence only" as the only form of sexual health education program. I am opposed to having speakers such as Pam Stenzel presenting in public schools, because their information, and their presentation of it, may be superficial, biased, or just plain inaccurate, in my opinion.

    It is patently obvious that avoiding sex altogether, except for two people who only engage in sex with one another for their entire lives, will eliminate the spread of STD's (except in the event of medical mishap, IV drug use, children who are born with STDs, and things of that nature). There is no need to have paid speakers outside of the public school system to hold lengthy presentations to make that very simple point, in my opinion.

    To expect American youth to follow only that model of sexual expression is at best, naive, and at worst, dangerously ignorant.

    So many people in the U.S. and Europe fought for decades to raise sexual health education above this harmful, outdated, pseudo-Victorian, repressive mindset. George W. Bush's regime set it all back immeasurably, and so, once again, we have to fight a fight that was already fought and won--or so we all thought:

    To ensure that teens and young adults, and the public-at-large, reduce their risk of harm by having complete, unbiased education about issues that are critical to their health and well-being.

    I will be following up on this issue with my input to the school district, state board of education, and the ACLU. I am also passing on the story running in the press to as many people as I can. Many of my colleagues and I have been involved in healthcare, government, and/or public education for a very long time, and some of us are investigative writers. We take this issue very seriously, we are politically active, and we vote.

    U.S. states with "abstinence only" sexual health education programs actually have the HIGHEST rates of teen pregnancy, STDs, and abortions, which proves that this approach doesn't work (http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/04/10/461402/teen-pregnancy-sex-education/ is one source for Federal statistics--it is easy to find others). This also means, in my opinion, that we need no paid, charismatic proponents of this movement to be a part of formal sexual health education in our schools. Their stance on this issue could easily be explained in about five minutes as part of a class lecture on various approaches to sexual health perspectives.

    I hope that you will keep speaking out, so that more people will know that information coming from sources like the National Institutes of Health, and peer-reviewed medical journals are more valid than the preacher-like lecture of a woman such as Pam Stenzel, who is, in my opinion, a poorly informed religious fanatic who inflicted her highly biased views upon your fellow students.

    Do her credentials even provide a genuinely high quality qualification for her to represent herself as any kind of expert in public health? She got a degree in Psychology from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, which has a looooong history of biased education programs, and it is not considered to be a top-level school among better colleges and universities, even though it is accredited.

    I believe that Wellesley is gaining a great student in you, and I have the deepest confidence that you will do good works in the world. All the highest success to you.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22022362

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1054139X05004672

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1341390

    http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089%2F108729102320231144

  • bob b

    Good on this young person. A teaching system that is a proven failure should not be allowed to use the time and space of the school unless it's shown in context. Biological facts would do the job. This administrator was wrong to give a platform to this well meaning but ignorant minority.

  • Unbelievable

    If someone put on an assembly at my kids' school where they spewed a bunch of scientifically incorrect vitriol in an attempt to scare my child into honoring someone else's definition of "Christianity," my kid would be the LEAST of that school's problems. How dare the school pull a stunt like this?

    I'm a Christian, and I believe that sex is not something that should be treated lightly, and that young people need to be aware of all the consequences, and that abstinence is the smartest choice at their age, but come on! If you are a public school, and you are not teaching your students the actual science regarding a) how human fertility works; b) how contraception works and c) the symptoms, effects and treatments (if any) for sexually transmitted infections, you have flat out failed your students. Period.

    I am all for extolling the virtues of abstinence. I am all for reminding young people that sex has emotional, social and physical ramifications that these young men and women are too young to handle. But I am not interested in hoping they manage to google this information in time to use it before they get knocked up at 20 with no real means of supporting themselves or a child, or getting a disease, or whatever. But hey, they're an adult now, right? So what if we sent them out into the world with wrong information and hope they figured it out for themselves!

    And if half of what this student alleges is true the Assistant Principal should be fired today. You do NOT threaten a student simply because they made you look bad. Maybe if you didn't hire whackjobs for your student assemblies you would not have to worry as much about "backstabbers with bad character." This guy should be ashamed of himself.

    • Realistically

      These types of presentations go a long way in defeating the very intent of the presentation. When adults yell and scream at young adults the predictable, and understandable, conclusion students arrive at is that the information is so much B.S. The quickest way to get a teenager to do the exact opposite of what you want is to get in his or her face and scream at them. Furthermore, there is no evidence that these type of programs work. I dare say most of the posters on this board who extoll the virtues of abstinence did not follow their own convictions as teenagers. How do I know? Survey after survey show that by age 19 the majority of teenagers have engaged in sexual activity. I assume a cross section comments on these boards. Most interesting, in these presentations, besides the incorrect information they deliver, is the message they send to those students who are already sexually active. Most are sexually active with a single partner, and no effective information is delivered to help them avoid unwanted pregnancy. Hence WV LEADS THE NATION IN TEEN PREGNANCY . . . a lot of good abstinence presentations do in cutting that number.

  • Realistically

    Bravo to this young lady, like those exercising their 2nd amendment right to bear arms she exmplifies the exercise of another Constitutional right, that of the right to free speech guaranteed in the 1st Amendment! I hope every gun owner, NRA member and fellow supporter of our Constitution will stand with her. If this is true: '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?”' Then nothing less than the resignation of the principal should be accepted.

  • Crystal

    My first question would be why her first reaction was to pick up a phone and call newspapers. Why didn't she approach someone in the school? Maybe requested an open forum for all students (and faculty) that wanted to attend? It was not a responsible action. I do agree that the principal was way out of line. In my opinion, she knew this is a hot issue in many schools in our country and knew this would be her ticket to fifteen minutes of fame. Maybe she also believes that "taking up this cause" will win her brownie points with such a liberal college...

    • Unbelievable

      Or maybe she knew the school would not give a damn about her complaint because they thought it was more important to scare their students than to educate them. What's the point of fighting within the system when it will get you nowhere.

  • Jane

    A different and slightly more in-depth perspective:

    http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201304150062?page=1

  • Scott

    The parents should be ashamed that teaching the option of "abstinence" offended their daughter so greatly.

  • Person

    Boil things down to the core issue here: the follow-up discussion between Campbell and the principal. Put aside your thoughts about her call to the media regarding the presentation, etc. Forget if you agree, forget if you think she was making too much of nothing. It's the threat of the principal to malign her reputation to her college of choice because she chose to speak out about the assembly that is the issue. That's why the whole thing is getting air time. None of that other stuff would've likely gotten past local news. Sorry to break it to ya, but the "liberal agenda" is old news, folks.

    • Charleston,WV

      Correct, however we really do not know the context as to how the principal's remarks were made (eg hypothetical scenario vs actual threat). In other words, was he making a direct threat or was he trying to make a lesson of the situation. That is only known between the student and the principal. I agree with you that we need to put the politics aside in this situation.

  • Phyllis Vaughan

    There are definitely two sides to the story, and we are only hearing one.
    As a teacher, I see the need for students to hear this type of message since most of them have probably never heard the word "abstinence" and have no idea what it means!

  • Annie

    I think the message the speaker delivered is warranted - especially in today's premiscuous society. However, I get the sense that this is more a war of an overbearing principal who was upset at being questioned or defied, and a spoiled egotistical girl who was out to make a name for herself. One news reporter said that she was upset at the thought of her principal threatening (if he did) to tell her college of her actions. Then he went on to state (sarcastically) something to the effect that the college wouldn't watch CNN where she was doing her interview. The message was needed, but the conflict between the principal and student is hype in my opinion.

  • George M

    too many people dont want to hear the truth about sin....

  • George M

    If she doesnt like abstienence don't practice it. if she prefers having sex before marriage or fornicating that is her choice...................

  • gary

    she definately had an agenda...
    she opted out of the assembly to start with - when she heard what had occurred, why didn't she go to the principal to discuss her concerns? nope - liberal loon went DIRECTLY to not one, but TWO news sources....she's looking to make a name for herself....well, she did - as a creep!!

  • Shawn

    Anyone else think it is strange that she didn't want to go listen to the speaker, yet she felt it necessary to listen to it recorded on an Iphone?