CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A visiting sex education speaker who emphasizes abstinence sparked controversy this week with an hour-long assembly at George Washington High School that some students found objectionable.
The speaker was Pam Stenzel, who travels the nation giving talks about the dangers of sex before marriage.
Her approach to sex education is to focus on the dangers of sex and the virtues of abstinence above all else. Her speaking style is abrasive.
"Really what I would call what it was is slut-shaming . . . she picked on girls who were sexually active," said Katelyn Campbell, a GW senior. "I know there were several girls who left the assembly crying because their feelings were so hurt."
No video of her speeches in Charleston were provided to the Daily Mail, but unsanctioned videos of similar talks are available at Youtube.com. Audio of her presentation at GW is available here.
The YouTube videos show Stenzel telling crowds of teenagers that "abortion is painful," that "no one has ever had more than one partner and not paid," and that a girl taking birth control "becomes 10 times more likely to contract a disease - that girl could end up sterile or dead."
Colin Hearn, president of Enlightened Communications and Stenzel's publicist, squarely rejected the notion that her teachings are "faith based" but said she's a publicly religious woman. Stenzel has a degree in psychology from Liberty University, according to her website.
Her visit here was sponsored by Believe in West Virginia, a religious group.
The group booked Stenzel for an engagement at St. Timothy Lutheran Church -- she spoke there Monday, the evening before she went to GW and Riverside high schools -- and then approached the schools with an offer to bring Stenzel there, too, and to foot the bill.
"She shared a message that expresses her opinion, and it's one that we were in support of," said John deBlecourt, Believe in West Virginia executive director. "It's not a particularly religious message. Her message is that abstinence is the safest."
Riverside Principal Valery Harper said she's heard no complaints since Stenzel was at Riverside, but students at GW have been vocal in their opposition to the assembly.
Superintendent Ron Deurring said he fielded a handful of complaints this week. One student said a parent has taken the issue to the American Civil Liberties Union.
GW Principal George Aulenbacher sat through the assembly with his students Tuesday and said it contained no religious content or mistruths and he didn't think it was inappropriate.