Students and Parents of Columbia Prep School Decry New ‘Porn Literacy’ Class

The Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in New York City is facing widespread backlash from both students and parents after it rolled out a bizarre new class on “porn literacy,” the New York Post reports.

Junior year students at the Manhattan-based school had to attend a “health and sexuality workshop,” expecting it to be a generic sexual education class. However, the class was revealed to be officially known as “Pornography Literacy: An intersectional focus on mainstream porn,” taught by the Director of Health and Wellness at the Dalton School, Justine Fonte. The class was made mandatory, and neither students nor parents were informed about the class’s contents ahead of time, or given the option to withdraw from the class.

Fonte’s presentation to the class of roughly 120 students included explicit photos in order to determine “what is porn and what is art,” as well as a list of the most-searched keywords in porn in 2019, and the most popular sub-genres of pornography.

As one student recalled, the collective reaction among the class was “We were all like, ‘what?’ Everyone was texting each other, ‘What the hell is this? It’s so stupid.’” The student even said that the mandatory class took place at the same time as her usual Advanced Placement (AP) classes, forcing her to miss out on crucial preparation for the AP exams at the end of the academic year.

The same student’s mother, speaking anonymously like her daughter, said that “most parents feel the same way I do about not going public,” for fear of retaliation by the school district if they dare to criticize the course. “But at the same time, we’re incredibly frustrated by what’s going on. None of the parents knew this was planned…It makes us wonder what else the school is up to.”

In a statement responding to the controversy, Columbia’s Headmaster William Donohue blamed the explicit content of the presentation on Fonte herself, claiming that “we did not better inform ourselves of the speaker’s specific content in advance. In this case, the speaker did not align with our unique CGPS mission, and for this, I apologize. Going forward, we will certainly learn from this experience.”

Fonte, however, is far less apologetic. Her website describes her as having “reveled in disrupting health education for 10 years,” and also admits to her being heavily inspired by the works of Kimberle Crenshaw, a far-left professor at Columbia University and UCLA who first coined the term “intersectionality” over 30 years ago. A spokesperson for Dalton deflected criticism on the matter, claiming that “Dalton does not teach, nor have we ever taught, the type of curriculum that is being suggested.” The statement even went so far as to blame the parents themselves, suggesting that “a small number of parents [have] misinterpreted the lessons this fall.”

About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: Cavan Images/Getty Images

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