An exclusive New York City high school hired an educator to teach students about pornography, and it did not go over well with parents.
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, an institution with a price tag of about $47,000 for the highest grade offered, held a sexuality workshop for all students in the junior class. Parents were not made aware of the training, and students were misinformed about the explicit content.
One student told the New York Post he thought it was “just going to be about condoms or birth control.” On the contrary, the training was called “Pornography Literacy: An intersectional focus on mainstream porn.” It was taught by Justine Ang Fonte, the director of health and wellness at The Dalton School nearby.
Fonte runs a consulting firm and delivers presentations for those who “want to build or enhance the practice of intersectional health for their school, organization, or families virtually and in-person.” The California native spoke at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health’s “students of color” graduation ceremony this year. She was invited by the “Black & Latinx Student Caucus” and “Advocates for Asian American Health.”
The training was delivered to 120 students on May 5 and discussed the following topics:
- Three big male vulnerabilities
- The “Orgasm Gap”
- Partially-nude women
- “What is porn and what is art?”
- Various pornography categories, such as “Incest,” “barely legal,” “kink and BDSM,” and others.
“We were all like, ‘What?’” said one female student, who thought the training was a complete waste of time. “Everyone was texting each other, ‘What the hell is this? It’s so stupid.’ Everyone knows about porn. The worst part of it was that it took place not long before the AP tests, and I had to miss both my AP classes for this.”
“Most parents feel the same way I do about not going public, but at the same time we’re incredibly frustrated by what’s going on,” said the student’s mother. “None of the parents knew this was planned. We were completely left in the dark. It makes us wonder what else the school is up to.” Parents, it seems, are hesitant to speak out because, as the mother conveyed, “No one wants to be canceled or lose their livelihood and that can be done in an instant.”
Since the event was over Zoom, most students attended the virtual session at home, although the school instructed some students to attend Fonte’s lecture in the gymnasium on laptops. Students were also instructed to answer pornography-related questions in the Zoom chat.
“It’s outrageous that the school is introducing pornography into a mainstream classroom and starting to indoctrinate kids,” the parent of a middle-school student told the Post. “The goal of this is to disrupt families.”
Other parents voiced their concerns, viewing the school’s contractual agreement with Fonte as inappropriate.
“The conversation went nowhere,” the parent said after having a chat with administrators about the training. “The sophistry was incredible.”
After the Post published its report on Columbia Prep, head of the school William M. Donohue apologized to parents in an email, saying the “content and tone of the presentation did not represent our philosophy, which is to educate our students in ways that promote their personal development and overall health, as well as to express respect for them as individuals.”
“It was unfortunate that we did not better inform ourselves of the speaker’s specific content in advance,” Donohue said. “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.”
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School did not return The Federalist’s request for comment.
Columbia Prep has alumni ranging from CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin to author Herman Melville, former Time Warner CEO Steve Ross, and former President Donald Trump’s son Barron. Anonymous parents launched an Instagram account titled “SpeakUpCGPS” last Friday to expose the school’s social justice activism.