A recent controversy at George Washington High School over an assembly featuring an abstinence only speaker has led to the passage of a new measure in the Kanawha County school system.
From now on, county schools superintendent Dr. Ron Duerring will have to sign off on all assemblies dealing with sex, religion or politics.
The measure was passed by board members Thursday night with a 3-2 vote. Those opposed said principals should be in control. Those in support said recent events show the need for more oversight.
“It’s just another backup for the principals,” said Kanawha County Board of Education President Pete Thaw, who introduced the measure. “I’m not slamming the principals, but they need a little backup too.”
In April, a controversial assembly speaker at George Washington resulted in a student going to the media regarding concerns surrounding the event.
That student, Katelyn Campbell, eventually filed a lawsuit against GW Principal George Aulenbacher, claiming he threatened her after she addressed the media. Last week, a judge denied an injunction request from Campbell.
Thaw said this measure protects students from being exposed to controversial topics during school assemblies.
“There are bands roaming the country of paid speakers on any subject you want,” said Thaw. “I don’t think we want some of those subjects and I don’t think the parents of Kanawha County children want some of those groups.”
Board members Becky Jordon and Robin Rector voted no on the measure. Jordon argued that the measure was not necessary. Rector had concerns that the measure could add an extra workload to county employees.