Abstinence-only speaker stirs up controversy

By Tara Morgan - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Sex talk stirs up controversy at one Henrico county high school. A speaker touting abstinence-only met with students at Douglas Freeman High School against some teachers' wishes.

One teacher says she questions the accuracy of the medical issues that were discussed. While some teens thought the message was one sided, others thought it was right on target.

Pam Stenzel travels the country talking to teens about sex. The Enlighten Communications, Inc. founder can be seen on YouTube. Douglas Freeman students got a chance to hear her message during an hour long assembly Tuesday.

"She talked about the difference between sex and oral sex, and how it's still, like the same thing," said freshman Tatiana Teran.

"She talked about stuff I didn't know about like the diseases it could bring and, like pregnancy," said freshman Maleek Sledge.

While it was well received by some students, it also ruffled feathers.

"She was very biased and there's two sides to everything and she only showed one. She didn't mention anything about gay people," said junior Grace Dupont.

10 of the more than 1700 Freeman students did not attend. At least seven teachers wrote the principal in opposition.

One teacher told NBC12 Stenzel didn't qualify her statement about condoms being dangerous and ineffective. The teacher also says she didn't think a public school was the appropriate format for the talk.

"I was at the assembly. She talked about abstinence. She talked a little bit about teen pregnancy, but there was no political message, no religious message, and nothing outside the script she said she would stick to," said Henrico schools spokesperson, Mychael Dickerson.

"I think it's something the kids need to consider as well, being in the society we're living in, getting all kids of other messages," said parent Harry Rosmarin.

Douglas Freeman's principal scheduled the speaker and followed protocol.  Only two parents showed up at the school for the assembly. But since it was not open to the public, they stood outside and listened in.

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