bdmetronews Desk ॥ Sex education is a sensitive subject. But during nine years at the prestigious Dalton School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, seven of which she spent as the director of health and wellness, Justine Ang Fonte seemed to be handling it with success.
She developed curriculums for students from kindergarten through 12th grade; hired three other health educators; and organized documentary viewings, discussions and workshops for parents. She also was a regular speaker at educational forums, like the National Association of Independent Schools’ People of Color Conference, and offered workshops and presentations at other New York City schools.
One of these was Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School on the Upper West Side, which in May invited her to teach two Zoom sessions, on pornography literacy and consent, to its juniors and seniors.
(Bill Donohue, the head of school there, said, “there may have been confusion on our part about which course we would receive. We understood the course would be under the topic of ‘Healthy Sexuality Workshop.)
A couple of parents complained afterward, Fonte was told, but there had been about 120 students, many of whom gave her great feedback, so she didn’t dwell on it.
About a week later, she woke up to find herself featured in The New York Post: “Students and parents reel after class on ‘porn literacy,’” said the headline. That story was followed by another soon after: “Dalton parents enraged over ‘masturbation’ videos for first graders.” The articles included screen shots from Fonte’s lessons, a possibility in the Zoom-classroom world.
Versions of the articles appeared in The Sun, The Daily Mail and on Fox News.
Feeling that she lacked support from Dalton, whose headmaster recently said that he is stepping down after conflicts over diversity programs, Fonte resigned in early June.
In a statement, a representative for Dalton said that Fonte “helped to develop an exemplary K-12 health and wellness program” and that her work should not be “overshadowed by unwarranted misinformation and hateful rhetoric.”
(The New York Times)
pic- Justine Ang Fonte, a sex-positive educator, in Manhattan on June 23, 2021.