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GW student's request for injunction denied

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Kanawha County circuit judge has denied a George Washington High School student's request for an injunction against her principal.

In an opinion issued Monday afternoon, Judge Duke Bloom said the squabble between senior Katelyn Campbell and Principal George Aulenbacher, which stemmed from Aulenbacher's decision to allow a controversial sex education speaker at the school, probably didn't belong in court.

"Finally, the Court would like to emphasis (sic) that sometimes parties are too quick to run to the courthouse to resolve matters like the one presented in the instant case," according to the ruling.

"It is clear to the Court that this matter would have been better addressed by Kanawha County Schools where the day to day administration of the school system is most properly addressed."

The request follows a publicized critique of a recent speaker at GW. Pam Stenzel, an abstinence-only advocate, tours the country giving at-times fiery presentations on the perils of sex before marriage. Her recent appearance at the South Hills high school raised some eyebrows, and prompted Campbell to go the media with her complaints.

Although she did not attend, Campbell said many of her peers found the event distasteful and offensive.

Campbell skipped the presentation in protest, calling Stenzel's actions "slut shaming."

A conversation between Aulenbacher and Campbell afterward sparked her request for injunctive relief.

Aulenbacher said in a previous court hearing that he told Campbell he felt betrayed when she went to reporters instead of coming to him first. He likened her actions to a hypothetical example of him speaking with Wellesley College -- Capmbell's presumptive destination this fall -- without her knowledge.

Campbell said she took this as a threat that Aulenbacher might call the school to hurt her admission or financial standing there.

An injunction prevents one person from doing something because that action would cause irreparable damage. In Bloom's opinion, Aulenbacher and Campbell both provide creditable versions of the conversation.

"Therefore, the Court finds Ms. Campbell has failed to meet her burden in this matter. The Court, however, recognizes that Mr. Aulenbacher's choice of an analogy was extremely poor," the opinion states.

Bloom also determined there wasn't enough evidence to show an injunction was needed to prevent Aulenbacher from speaking with Wellesley or to maintain Campbell's standing with the school.

As cited in the opinion, Aulenbacher said he didn't plan to call the school, and Wellesley has publicly stated it's looking forward to Campbell attending. Campbell said during a previous hearing she didn't think Aulenbacher planned to call the school, but she wanted the injunction just in case.

Bloom says in the opinion injunction can't be granted as a "precautionary measure."

During the hearing for the injunction, attorneys for Campbell and Aulenbacher spoke at length about Stenzel and the topics she discussed. Bloom said they were important concerns, but had nothing to do with the injunction itself.

"The court was not presented with the question of whether or not the decision to bring the speaker to a public school was appropriate," the opinion states.

The court "isn't in the business" of making decisions concerning the day-to-day operations of the school system, according to the opinion. The court is a "last resort" to present conflicts regarding schools, it continues.

Writer Shay Maunz also contributed to this report.

Contact writer Dave Boucher at 304-348-4843 or Follow him at

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