Sex ed speaker ousted by Chicago school after parents file legal complaint

sex education, Planned Parenthood, New York

A sex writer who pens “deeply troubling and extensive online articles advocating casual hook-up sex, pornography use, and other risky sex behaviors” has been removed, for now, from a Chicago public school’s sex education program after parents filed a lawsuit to halt it.

The Thomas More Society reports on the story, explaining that Nicolette Pawlowski, a “sex columnist and dancer” had been scheduled to do the sex education program on April 17 at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, which serves grades 7-12. The principal, Joyce Kenner, postponed it in response to parents’ legal actions. Thomas More reports:

… Sally Wagenmaker, parent of a student at the Chicago public high school, notified the administrator of her intent to take legal action. Kenner was informed of a temporary restraining order and an emergency request for injunctive relief being filed against the school in Cook County Circuit Court. Wagenmaker, along with her husband Dan and other concerned Whitney Young parents, filed suit when both Kenner and assistant principal Lynn Zalon rejected requests for information regarding the 7th through 12th grade school’s decision to use sex columnist and dancer Nicolette Pawlowski for its sexual education programming. The administration had been contacted because of parental objection to what Wagenmaker described as Pawlowski’s “deeply troubling and extensive online articles advocating casual hook-up sex, pornography use, and other risky sex behaviors.”

In this case, the Wagenmaker also happens to be a Chicago attorney who works with the Thomas More Society:

As a parent and a lawyer, Wagenmaker has raised serious questions regarding Pawlowski’s credentials, suitability to teach, and lack of proper approval to provide sex education at the school. She described Kenner and Zalon’s actions on behalf of the Whitney Young administration as “illegal, contrary to Chicago Public School policy, and otherwise reflecting poor judgment against the best interests of Whitney Young students.”

The Thomas More Society adds that there was also improper parental notification for 7th and 8th grade parents when Pawlowski presented to them the week before her postponed April 17 presentation. The April 10 presentation information came two days before on a Sunday evening via email, and it lacked details, apart from Pawlowski’s name and presentation title, Thomas More says. It adds that there was no opt-out opportunity for parents.

sex education

Undoubtedly, many parents would be concerned with Pawlowski’s agenda, which a simple look at her website shows. She lists her job description as the CEO of her sex education company, Apassionato, as:

Designing and facilitating programs to youth, adults and seniors, regarding sexual health, kink, relationships, STI prevention, birth control, pleasure and communication.

Some of her ideas of “kink” and “pleasure” may be found in her articles, which she, herself, links. They include a column on why she believes people should masturbate. Pawlowski even urges people to handcuff themselves to the bed, among other things. She writes, in a previous column for the Wisconsin Badger Herald:

Try different fantasies, read erotic stories and watch different types of porn to see what peaks your interest. Whether in the shower, in the car, classroom or bed, sex with yourself can lead to new aspects of enjoyment in every area.

In another column, she writes about how it’s okay to watch other people have sex and to enjoy watching it in public at parties, etc. Pawlowski’s ideas of “healthy” sexuality go far beyond what some of the most blatant sex education curriculum might suggest. Certainly, ideas like these have no place in a middle or high school classroom, and that’s part of the parental outcry. Even if she did not overtly say these things in the classroom, by putting these links on her website, students would be led to her attempts to normalize sexual behavior that many adults would consider out of bounds, let alone children who are 12 and in middle school. Thomas More adds:

The complaint states that the “lack of responsiveness to several parents’ expressed concerns was in clear contravention of the law applicable to Whitney Young as an Illinois public school,” and in violation of parents’ rights. The filing details multiple violations of the Illinois School Code, the Illinois Critical Health Problems and Comprehensive Health Education Act, the Chicago Public Schools Policy Manual “Sexual Health Education,” and the Chicago Public Schools’ “Sexual Health Education Toolkit.”

Wagenmaker noted that applicable Illinois law and Chicago Public Schools policy reflect a strong emphasis on abstinence and avoidance of risky sexual behaviors, such as those advocated by Pawlowski.

READ: Parents plan sex ed sit-out to protest graphic sex education

On April 18, the day after the postponed program, lawyers for both sides appeared at a hearing. Thomas More notes:

Because the April 17 sex ed program at the school was cancelled, Wagenmaker agreed to withdraw the emergency motion but will continue with the lawsuit considering the school’s refusal to admit any wrongdoing.

Wagenmaker declared, “The seemingly promiscuous program was cancelled, the problems are being addressed in and out of court – I’m counting this as a victory for Chicago public school parents and their children.”

The complaint, which contains an accounting of all the facts of this case, may be read here.

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