I don't know if any of you have heard, but I have a daughter. It is an interesting thing, to consider her growing up. I'm not going to lie, I'm not thrilled about the thought of her ever having sex. I'm old fashioned that way. But, that is my baggage, not hers.
That brings me to this piece of news making the rounds. The tl/dr version of this story is that this girl, who sounds like she has a pretty promising future ahead of her, protested against a conservative christian abstinence only advocate giving a presentation at her high school. According to all reports that I have read, the speech was mean spirited and full of misinformation. Then her principal berated her for exercising her right to free speech (and contrary to what some people want to believe, children are also protected by the first amendment), the threatened to call her future college and impugn her character, all in an attempt to silence and admonish her.
Which brings me back to my daughter. As I said, I'm not thrilled about the prospect of her someday becoming sexually active. I'm also not stupid enough to think that is never going to happen. As much as I would like her to stay my little girl forever, I would also like her to be educated about her body, and be truthfully informed about her options and safety. I certainly don't want my daughter to be shamed for her feelings and curiosity, and I don't want her fed misinformation that could lead her to making poor choices (like being told that condoms aren't effective). And I certainly don't want my daughter to be subjected to a mean spirited religious nut's misinformed rantings, and subsequently to be threatened by the people that are supposed to be helping guide her towards adulthood.
In short, this story infuriates me, as I think it should for all of us. Especially anyone with a daughter.
I wish Katelyn Campbell best of luck in her future, and I would like to congratulate her parents on giving her what seems to be a good start. I also hope that Principal George Aulenbacher enjoys his Google search results for the rest of his life. They should prove amusing.
*West Virginia is a heavy promoter of abstinence only education. It also has a high rate of teen pregnancy (which seems to be a trend in other abstinence only states as well). Is abstinence the safest option? Yes. It's also not going to happen. I am always amused by people that wonder why kids are having sex, and how we can stop it. Here is why kids have sex: it's the same reason adults have sex. Because it feels really really good. Kids have all the urges that we do, with less experience about how to deal with them. Instead of ignoring these facts, we need to be pragmatic. We need to be supportive, and teach them how best to be safe.