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UPDATE: Judge Denies GW Student's Injunction Request

By: Rahel Solomon, Anna Baxter, Jennifer Rizzi Email
By: Rahel Solomon, Anna Baxter, Jennifer Rizzi Email

UPDATE 5/6/13 @ 5:34 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A Kanawha County judge has denied a high school student's request for an injunction against her principal over alleged threats.

Circuit Judge Duke Bloom on Monday denied the injunction request from George Washington High School student body vice president Katelyn Campbell. She claims her principal, George Aulenbacher, threatened to disparage her to officials at Wellesley College where she plans to attend because she spoke out against a speaker who delivered a controversial abstinence speech at the school.

Aulenbacher has denied Campbell's accusations. He says the teen twisted his words.

Media outlets report that Bloom said that the problem should be resolved through the school system rather than the court.

Motivational speaker Pam Stenzel's speech during an assembly last month was sponsored by faith-based Believe in West Virginia.



UPDATE 4/18/13 @ 11:25 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Dozens of passionate parents and students packed the Kanawha County School Board meeting Thursday night to speak out about a sex speaker at George Washington High School -- and its ensuing controversy with the school principal.

Senior Katelyn Campbell filed a legal injunction against Principal George Aulenbacher, claiming he harassed her after she publicly denounced the sex speaker's assembly.

Campbell says she and other students were offended by the speaker's use of "scare tactics" to promote abstinence.

At Thursday night's meeting, many community members came to speak on behalf of Aulenbacher's character, professing that he displays upstanding morals and good intentions.

"I feel like what is happening with Mr. Aulenbacher isn't fair," student Gracie Switzer said. "I feel like everyone who supported him should come out to show what a great principal and a great man he is."

Others called for his dismissal, saying he tried to indoctrinate students with the assembly.

Some students like Isabel Sotomayor say they're troubled by Campbell's allegations.

"If he did say [those things], even in a hypothetical situation, I don't think it should have been thrown out there," she said. "I think an apology is definitely in order."

Others came just to address the controversial nature of sex speaker Pam Stenzel, and school board member Becky Jordon weighed in.

"You might not like the way she presented it and a few off-color remarks," she said . "But some of her things were right on-target."

Board members say they don't see Aulenbacher's job as being in jeopardy.

But they say all future school district assemblies about controversial subject matter - namely sex, religion, and politics - should be prior-approved by the school board or the superintendent.

UPDATE 4/17/13 @ 11:50 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Authorities are increasing security at a Charleston high school following threats regarding a recent speech on abstinence.

City police Lt. Shawn Williams tells the Associated Press that someone threatened in a Facebook posting to shoot George Washington High School Principal George Aulenbacher. The post was made on a Facebook page supporting Aulenbacher.

Lt. C.E. Sisson says the threats were regarding motivational speaker Pam Stenzel's speech during an assembly last week. He says police are investigating.

Williams says police will ask Facebook to remove the post.

Stenzel's speech on sexual abstinence before marriage prompted some students to leave the assembly upset.

Her visit was sponsored by faith-based Believe in West Virginia. Kanawha County Schools Superintendent Ron Duerring has said no school funds were used for the event.



UPDATE 4/15/13 @ 7:15 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A senior at George Washington High School in Charleston has filed an injunction against her principal, the superintendent of Kanawha County Schools and the Kanawha County School Board after a controversial assembly at the school.

Some students at GWHS, including Student Body Vice President Katelyn Campbell, have publicly spoken out about about their concerns regarding remarks made during an assembly centered around abstinence. During an assembly on April 8, Pam Stenzel spoke to students about sex before marriage.

Campbell says Stenzel used "scare tactics" in her speech.

According to the injunction filed in Kanawha County Court, Campbell claims after she publicly criticized what was said during the assembly, GWHS Principal George Aulenbacher threatened to call Wellesley College to report her activities. Campbell has been accepted to Wellesley College as a student this fall.

Campbell’s attorney, Mike Callaghan, called the injunction necessary to protect her right to free speech.

"We simply want to make sure that my client's and the other students expressing their opinions are protected for exercising their First Amendment rights,” Callaghan said. “No student should be concerned for their future for publicly expressing their opinion.”

The injunction calls for a preliminary injunction to prohibit the defendants from infringing upon Campbell's First Amendment Rights to engage in free speech and from retaliating against her.

Campbell announced her plans to file the injunction during a live interview on CNN.

During a news conference in Charleston, Campbell claims that Aulenbacher called her into his office saying he was disappointed and said, "How could you go to the press without telling me?" Campbell also says Aulenbacher said, "How would you like it if I called your colleges, told them what bad character you have, and what a backstabber you are."

Campbell also believes Aulenbacher's threats put her admission and scholarships to the school in jeopardy.

Parents tell WSAZ.com, if Campbell's claims are true Aulenbacher was out of line.

"I don't think anyone that would have an error in judgement this grave should be in charge of a school, a public school," said Karan Ireland whose children plan to attend George Washington soon.

Stenzel's visit was sponsored by a religious group known as Believe in West Virginia. Stenzel also gave talks last week at a local church and at Riverside High School.

Kanawha County Board of Education member Becky Jordon attended the assembly. She says she found nothing inappropriate in Stenzel's message. She says the strong tone of Stenzel's voice was probably a "turnoff," but Jordon believes the message needed to be told.

Kanawha County Schools Attorney Jim Withrow said Aulenbacher was out of the area Monday, but the claims will be investigated once he is back in town.

Withrow said while Kanawha County Schools takes threats toward students very seriously, he hasn't had any other complaints about the principal.

"I've always known Mr. Aulenbacher to be an excellent principal ... he's run good schools wherever he's been," Withrow said.

During Monday's news conference, Campbell requested Principal Aulenbacher resign and officially apologize to the community for the speech.

If you would like to read the injunction filed Monday, click on the link above the story.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Some students at George Washington High School say a motivational speaker's talk to young people about sexual abstinence was offensive.

Pam Stenzel's speech about sex before marriage prompted some students to leave the assembly upset Tuesday.

Student Katelyn Campbell says Stenzel used "scare tactics" in her speech.

Stenzel's visit was sponsored by religious group Believe in West Virginia. Stenzel also gave talks this week at a local church and at Riverside High School.

Kanawha County Board of Education member Becky Jordon attended the assembly. She says she found nothing inappropriate in Stenzel's message. She says the strong tone of Stenzel's voice was probably a "turnoff," but Jordon believes the message needed to be told.


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