Christian Sex Educator Withdraws from Speaking at WA Public School After Community Backlash

While we’re talking about sex educators who have no business telling kids about sex, it looks like a school in Washington dodged a bullet this week.

Some background: The Kennewick School District has a legal obligation to make up snow days, so they did something that sounds strange but actually makes a lot of sense. With the approval of parents, they agreed to have kids make up the days on three Saturdays between March and April (for three hours each).

Knowing full well that some parents would just call their kids in sick, they didn’t schedule classes on these days. Instead, they gave students the option of listening to a lecture, getting prepared for their AP tests, being tutored, etc.

The problem is that one of those lectures, on April 15, was going to be delivered by Brad Henning, a conservative Christian abstinence-only sex educator.

HenningBlameGirls

You wouldn’t know about his background, though, by reading the description the District sent out to parents:

Brad is one of the most humorous and engaging speakers we’ve ever had! His presentation is entitled “Don’t Take Love Lying Down” and is designed to teach young people what healthy relationships can be and how they can prepare themselves for future long-lasting and happy relationships and marriage. He also describes the differences between men’s and women’s needs and how they feel and communicate about life, love, and relationships. Due to collaboration with other area high schools this event will be held at Kennewick High.

Thankfully, the Tri-City Freethinkers made plans to show up at a school board meeting this week to protest the invitation to Henning. And they weren’t alone.

But by the end of the meeting, after several people had spoken out for and against him, the board voted 3-2 in favor of keeping Henning on the schedule. All three yes votes were cast by men, while the two no votes came from women. Not good optics. Tri-City Freethinkers President Jennifer Goulet said this after the meeting:

… Watching the board debate the decision was an exercise in witnessing mansplaining and rude, dismissive, sexist treatment of the female board members, by one board member in particular.

But the pressure appears to have had an effect. The next day, Henning voluntarily withdrew from speaking to the students:

In a news release, KSD said Henning informed officials, “He was respectfully withdrawing as a presenter due to recent concerns expressed by the public and his desire to preserve an atmosphere of civility in the community.”

Or maybe he knew he was going to be challenged by students who knew exactly the sort of faith-based evidence-free bullshit he’d be spewing.

The battle isn’t over yet, though. Henning may have said no to the Kennewick School District, but that doesn’t mean he won’t speak to other public schools in the future.

That means students and parents must be vigilant in pushing back whenever he’s scheduled to speak somewhere. Otherwise, girls can expect to hear a lecture all about the right time to have sex:

How do you know when it’s the right time to have sex? The answer is, when you are married and committed to that person for the rest of your life and have declared the same before God and the world that you mean what you said, that you are willing to be responsible for the consequences of your sexual behavior and are willing to prove that responsibility by getting a job and creating a home to raise your family in. That’s when it’s the right time to have sex with a guy…and not a minute before.

Henning is also scheduled to speak at Richland High School in Washington this fall as part of a freshmen orientation. Goulet tells me she’s working with her group and other allies to push back on his future appearances in the area.

For the sake of the students, I hope she’s successful.

(Thanks to Bonnie for the link)

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