The Education of Shelby Knox

I happened to catch The Education of Shelby Knox on PBS the other night.  This was a mixed blessing – I really enjoyed the documentary but I had intended to go to sleep!  I had heard about this film previously, but didn’t really know anything more about it.

Shelby Knox is a courageous young woman – she stood up to basically the entire town of Lubbock, TX because, despite having taken an abstinence vow, she thought that the abstinence-only “sex ed” program in their schools (which pretty much seems to have consisted of teachers being fired for saying anything other than “wait until you’re married”) was a crock given that Lubbock had among the highest rates of teen pregnancy & STD’s nationwide at the time.  She and the youth council she’s a part of were pretty much just blown off by the school board and then the city pulled the group’s funding because they were too much of a pain.

Probably the most striking thing about the film is how balanced it is – even “Sex Ed”, the far-right pastor who oversees the abstinence vows, comes off as not completely insane.  Sure, I think the basic premises of his opinions are wrong, but he is clearly someone who is trying to help these young people the best way he knows how.  There is a REALLY powerful scene where he and Shelby are talking in his office, and she’s trying to understand why homosexuality is a sin.  And basically their conversation boils down to him saying “Because the Bible says so” and her wanting to know WHY.

So if you have an hour and a half and are interested in this kind of thing, check it out.

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