Steven Werner is protesting a Michigan principal's decision to educate his daughter on porn, calling it an act of bullying and demanding a written apology.
The 10th grade girl went to school on halloween wearing a pink and black female pirate costume the other week, but was called to the Utica High School principal's office for an outfit that resembled a porn star, Werner tells WJBK. The costume features a short black dress and knee-high black stockings with pink bows.
Werner says that Principal Janet Jones proceeded to tell the teen that she looked like a porn star in the outfit. When the girl asked what a porn star was, "she elaborated to [the girl] what a porn star was and what they do for a living," Werner said.
"She did say that all men watch porn and it's a fact of life and I should get real," he told WJBK. "My daughter was pretty shocked that her principal would explain to her what a porn star is and what a porn star does and about the pornography industry, and I thought it was wrong."
While the teen wasn't sent home for her costume, she was told to hide the bows on her stockings, WDIV reports.
"The principal should have just come clean and said, 'Hey, I made a mistake.'" Werner told WDIV. "I checked the costume, and it looked appropriate. She wasn't planning on going into porn, and the school doesn't teach it, and they should keep it out of school."
In protest, Werner is driving around town in a trailer that says "Mrs. Jones taught my daughter about porn. 'All men watch porn.'" He says the move is an effort to raise awareness of community happenings, telling WJBK that Jones' move "is a form of bullying."
The teen's peers is reportedly harassing and threatening her over the ordeal and mobile billboard, as the students "all believe Mrs. Jones is pure and perfect and she can't do nothing wrong," Werner says.
In the meantime, some students are backing the principal with a "Team Jones" banner at school, WTVR reports. District officials have also released a statement:
"The principal has the obligation to ensure a positive learning environment. The conversation between the student, principal, and counselor was in the context of addressing the disruption to the learning environment, the attire, and the concern for the student."
England's National Association of Headteachers recently called for adding lessons on the dangers of pornography to the national curriculum, citing research showing that children as young as 11 are getting hooked on internet porn. The proposal suggests adding the lessons to sex education classes to turn back the clock on a recent trend that has given children "unrealistic expectations" of sex.
Stateside, a report released in April by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that schools have made little progress in recent years in teaching students about preventing sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. Among the country's middle schools, 11 states saw drops in the percentage of public schools teaching recommended topics between 2008 and 2010. No states saw increases. Among high schools, one state saw a drop in the percentage of schools teaching suggested topics, and two states saw increases.
Studies have found that comprehensive sex education more effectively delays sexual intercourse among youth and reduces teen pregnancy at a greater rate than abstinence-only education. Still, a 2010 study published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that abstinence education can delay sex among teens.
Researchers from the Guttmacher Institute reported in May that greater education about contraception is directly correlated to a decrease in risky sexual behavior among young adults.
Abstinence-only sex education programs are often criticized for failing to prevent unintended pregnancies, resulting from misinformation or simply lack of information regarding contraceptives. The curriculum has also been found to teach that condoms have a 30 percent rate of failure, birth control pills can cause cancer and pregnancy could result from touching another's genitals.
"Programs to increase young adults' knowledge about contraceptive methods and use are urgently needed," the Guttmacher study concludes. "Given the demonstrated link between method knowledge and contraceptive behaviors, such programs may be useful in addressing risky behavior in this population."