Teach Her Good

Jonathan McLeod

Jonathan McLeod is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. (That means Canada.) He spends too much time following local politics and writing about zoning issues. Follow him on Twitter.

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45 Responses

  1. Kazzy says:

    Stories like this make me want put my head down on my desk, close my eyes, and hope that when I open them, I am a member of a profession that doesn’t embarrass itself in ways that run completely counter to our duties and obligations.Report

  2. Mike Schilling says:

    Fortunately, “I’m going to tell Wellesley that you can think for yourself and recognize BS when you come across it” is a pretty toothless threat.Report

  3. RTod says:

    My favorite part was the bit where the principal thought telling Wesley that the student was some kind of uppity feminist would be a threat.

    It’s according to the student and unconfirmed, but it’s so space awesome I really hope it’s true.Report

  4. Kitty says:

    No one is ever going to call this young woman an admissions office mistake.Report

  5. North says:

    And the clowns just keep coming.Report

  6. Damon says:

    If Campbell had the balls to to speak up and contact the ACLU why didn’t she have the balls to respond to Principal George Aulenbacher’s question with a response like this: “How would you like it if FIRE and the ACLU and I all sue your ass?”Report

    • Dan Miller in reply to Damon says:

      I suspect l’esprit de l’escalier. I’ve had the same thing happen to me–I was hit by a car making an illegal turn while I was walking in a crosswalk, and was so shooken up by the experience that I almost didn’t call the cops (luckily, I came to my senses). But being in a stressful situation like that can make it hard to respond correctly right at the moment, especially for a high-schooler.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Damon says:

      Seriously? Because she’s 18 and an angry grown man with a great deal of power and authority is yelling at her and threatening her.Report

      • Damon in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Sure that’s a factor. But from the description this kid was a motivated passionate person voicing her concerns. She’d already contacted the ACLU AND had spoken to the local media. She’s got the stones for that but buckles under a confrontation?

        She also could have said “I’m going to Wellesly, you figure out who the’ll support.”Report

  7. NewDealer says:

    Of course, Wellesly is supporting their probable incoming student. Wellesly is a liberal and sensible campus. What did the principal expect? He sounds like he knows nothing beyond his front porch and that everyone agrees with him.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to NewDealer says:

      Yeah, when I got to the point that she was going to Wellesly and the principal was going to tell admissions officers about what happened, I thought “Wellesley? They’re like as not to offer this young lady a scholarship for doing this.”Report

  8. Well, at least abstinence-only sex education works well. Oh, wait…Report

  9. KatherineMW says:

    This is completely and utterly out of line. While I am not at all opposed to encouraging young people to wait until marriage, trying to damage someone’s educational prospects because they disagree with your policies is completely wrong. (However, given the views of most university campuses, this would be more likely to help the young woman gain admission than harm her.)Report

    • I’m with you like 95%. But, naturally, I’m going to pick a nit. I think it is waaaaaaay out of line for a public high school to encourage kids to wait until they’re married. Teach them that abstinence is the best protection against pregnancy and STIs? Sure, but if either of my daughters (when they’re much older) decide to have a sexual relationship outside of marriage, I’m not going to automatically assume they’re doing something they shouldn’t be.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

        I’d say to teach them the pros and cons, benefits and drawbacks of a variety of approaches to sexual relationships. Ground this in science… true abstinence reduces the risk of pregnancy or STDs to zero… condoms does this… birth control does that. Here are the risks of non-vaginal sex.

        If there is good science regarding the emotional outcomes, I’d be okay with citing this, so long as the proper context is given. “Some studies show…”Report

        • Brandon Berg in reply to Kazzy says:

          Some studies show…

          Eh…there’s a lot of wiggle room in there.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID! HA!!!

            More seriously, what I mean is that if there are peer reviewed, scientifically sound studies that demonstrate that, say, couples that wait X years to have sex tend to have Y outcomes… you can tell that to students.

            But you can’t tell them that a man in the sky will burn their eternal soul if they don’t slam their penis in a desk drawer every night.Report

      • Me neither, but I am hoping way after 14 or 15. Is there a substantive difference between my position and theirs? Or is it just a matter of different benchmarks? Seems that we all draw the line at “doing something they shouldn’t be” somewhere, no? So, in sex ed and government schools, where does that leave us? Ideally, I guess, with a mostly technical education not rooted in morality or psychology much at all. Is that possible? Would anybody be satisfied with that?Report

        • Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman says:

          “Is there a substantive difference between my position and theirs?”

          Their position that abstinence is good, or their position that women who don’t practice it are impure and hated by their mothers, or their position that you cannot have sex outside of marriage without contracting an STD?

          Because I think a lot of the objections about their mandatory class dealt with things very, very different than abstinence.Report

          • trumwill mobile in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Sorry, I meant “they” in the sense of what Katherine findsacceptable. Not the West Virginia thing, which is uunacceptable on a number of levels.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

          “Ideally, I guess, with a mostly technical education not rooted in morality or psychology much at all.”

          This is what I was trying to get at with my comment. Morality would be hard, since I think the fact that there is so much disagreement about most areas of sexual morality is ultimately evidence that it is a deeply personal issue. But I do think you could explore the psychology and other related angles, provided you are backing up your teachings in sound science. For instance, if teenage sex is correlated with, say, depression, I think you can explain that to students. Now, you’d want to be careful about causation and correlation and all that… you can’t turn it into, “PRE-MARITAL SEX MAKES YOUR HEART MELT AND YOUR BRAIN GO CRAZY!”, but you can point to the link and explore it.Report

          • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

            But what if it does make your heart melt and your brain go crazy?!

            More seriously, I think it’s really hard to pull off. Not the least of which because liberals (and myself, for that matter) don’t want young people to be uncomfortable with their sexuality. While there are very stringent limits to how I would want this to manifest itself, it would nonetheless be a lot more than folks to our right would be comfortable with. Which makes this a political battlefield.

            But on the subject, studies have suggested that there is a correlation between the age at which a young woman becomes sexually active, and the number of partners she has, and the probability of later divorce. This correlation does not apply to young men. Is mentioning this a form of moralizing (even if you don’t moralize about divorce being bad)? If the reasoning for this is lingering sexism, would mentioning this be perpetuating that sexism? How should the possibility of confounding factors be framed?

            And then, the kids will ask questions…

            This is not to advocate any particular approach (and I don’t really want to sidetracked into a discussion about the possible flaws in the results – we will often see flaws, or not see flaws, according to our ideology). I just find the notion of stripping worldview from this discussion, even the bland sort of discussion that would only occur at a government education institution, to be kind of hard.Report

    • dhex in reply to Kolohe says:

      maybe school administrators just really like paying into kids’ college funds these days? the ny post school of, uh, schooling.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Kolohe says:

      Ya know, I understand that schools have some unique powers when it comes to regulating dress and, by extension, speech. And I understand that there exist circumstances when their obligations as educators and as the keepers of their charges during the school day must do so. But when weighed against the costs, including sending the message that power is not balanced by responsibility, I think it should be used only in the most extreme of situations.

      This, and most other such stories, is not that.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

        I would add to this that I cannot, for the life of me, imagine a situation where it is appropriate to send a kid to jail for a shirt he or she is wearing. That’s what puts my jaw on the floor.Report