CHARLESTON, W.Va. - When he set about bringing Pam Stenzel to Charleston earlier this year, John deBlecourt said he never anticipated the abstinence-only advocate would cause such an uproar.
DeBlecourt, executive director of Believe in West Virginia, a local religious and economic group, had seen Stenzel speak in person years ago and watched videos of her presentations online.
His group organized and paid for Stenzel to speak at two public high schools and a church.
He said it was an opportunity for someone to share his values on sex with teens.
"The reason we got involved with this is because we have a heart for kids," deBlecourt said. "We thought abstinence . . . it's a common goal."
But ever since Stenzel's speech, the group has found itself in the news as controversy continues to swirl around comments she made, including a message to young girls that "if you are on birth control, your mother probably hates you."
Some students and parents took issue with the presentation - most notably 17-year-old senior Katelyn Campbell, who went to the media with her concerns. She called the event an exercise in "slut-shaming" and decried Stenzel's religious background.
However, Stenzel also spoke to students at Riverside High School and no one there has publicly voiced concerns about her presentation.
At last week's Kanawha County school board meeting, crowded with GW students and parents on all sides of the issue, board member Becky Jordon made an impassioned speech in defense of GW Principal George Aulenbacher - and announced that her husband had donated money to help bring Stenzel to Charleston.
That donation was made to Believe in West Virginia.
That pronouncement generated murmurs about the separation of church and state from some in the audience, but Jordon was hardly fazed. She has remained a staunch supporter of Aulenbacher.
This wasn't Believe in West Virginia's first jaunt into the sex education arena, and it's not the first time the group has brought abstinence advocates into public schools.
The group has a relationship with a group called The Silver Ring Thing, a Christian group that travels the country urging teens to wait to have sex until after marriage. The teens buy (or are given) a silver ring to symbolize their commitment to abstinence.
In the past, Believe in West Virginia brought The Silver Ring Thing to a slew of churches and community centers and a few schools.