Columbia Prep students and parents reel after class on ‘porn literacy’

 Parents at the posh Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School are outraged they were never told of a fourth “R” being added to the curriculum: raunch.

In addition to the usual reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic, the school this month launched lessons on porn — without informing families or allowing them to opt out, parents fumed.

When juniors at the $47,000-a-year Manhattan school showed up for a health and sexuality workshop, most thought it was “just going to be about condoms or birth control,” a student told The Post.

Instead, it was something called “Pornography Literacy: An intersectional focus on mainstream porn,” taught by Justine Ang Fonte, who’s the director of Health & Wellness at another elite prep school, Dalton.

The often-explicit slide presentation and lecture by Fonte to the 120 boys and girls included lessons on how porn takes care of “three big male vulnerabilities”; statistics on the “orgasm gap” showing straight women have far fewer orgasms with their partners than gay men or women; and photos of partially-nude women, some in bondage, to analyze “what is porn and what is art.”

Fonte’s presentation, some of which was seen by The Post, included a list of the most searched pornographic terms of 2019, including “creampie,” “anal,” “gangbang,” “stepmom” and more.

One slide cited various porn genres such as “incest-themed,” consensual or “vanilla,” “barely legal,” and “kink and BDSM” (which included “waterboard electro” torture porn as an example).

“We were all like, ‘What?'” a female student said. “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.”

One part of the porn presentation involved something called the “marketability of Only Fans,” the hot new app used mostly for sex work. One slide included a photo of a pretty young woman who appeared to be promoting OnlyFans-type work.

“I identify as non-binary,” she is quoted as saying, “but because that hasn’t hit the general consciousness of the adult industry, I say ‘girl,’ because that’s what people who want to buy my content will be looking for.”

The female Columbia Prep student said most of the kids, aged 16 and 17, watched the lesson on Zoom from home — which is what alerted some parents to it — but some were at the school and made to assemble in the gym together to watch it on their laptops.

“We were all so shocked and mortified,” the girl told The Post. “We were all like, ‘Why are they doing this? Why do they think it’s OK?’

“We were supposed to answer questions about the porn stuff in the Zoom chat but we were all side-chatting in group chats and tons of kids thought it was so dumb that they sent the link to their friends all over the city and they were all logging on with the password.”

The introduction slide to Justine Ang Fonte’s workshop on "Pornography Literacy: An intersectional focus on mainstream porn.”

The girl spoke to The Post with her mother. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“No one wants to be cancelled or lose their livelihood and that can be done in an instant,” the mother said. “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. 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.”

Another parent of a middle-schooler at the pre-K-12th-grade school said, “It’s outrageous that the school is introducing pornography into a mainstream classroom and starting to indoctrinate kids. The goal of this is to disrupt families. 

“Why is the school making porn a priority as opposed to physics, art, literature or poetry?” she asked.

Three other parents who spoke to The Post said they asked school administrators to show them content from the presentation after it took place but were rebuffed. One mother sent a letter to the school and was granted a discussion with administrators by Zoom, she said.

“The conversation went nowhere,” she told The Post. “The sophistry was incredible.”

The Columbia Prep student said she didn’t know what Fonte was attempting to teach them.

“I didn’t understand what the overarching message or theme was,” she said. “I remember what stood out was this one part when she showed images of what could be considered porn or considered body positivity but it didn’t help me with anything.”

Fonte, 35, declined to comment and referred The Post to Columbia Prep and Dalton. Dr. William M. Donohue, the head of school at Columbia Prep, did not respond to calls and emails from The Post.

A spokesman for Dalton, where parents have told The Post that Fonte teaches classes to first and second graders that include inappropriate discussions of sexuality, possibly about masturbation, defended Fonte’s work.

“Dalton does not teach, nor have we ever taught, the type of curriculum that is being suggested,” the spokesman said. “Our health classes do teach students important lessons related to body positivity, consent, and boundary setting with friends and others. A small number of parents who misinterpreted the lessons this fall and expressed concerns were offered meetings with faculty to clarify. No additional concerns have been expressed to faculty.”

Fonte’s website says she has “reveled in disrupting health education for 10 years” and frames her “pedagogy through the lens of Kimberlé Crenshaw’s teachings on intersectionality.”

Crenshaw, 62, is a law professor at Columbia University and the UCLA School of Law and an early proponent of critical race theory who coined the word “intersectionality” more than 30 years ago. It refers to how people’s social identities overlap and how some are disadvantaged by their race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation or religion.

Fonte’s workshop seems to be connected with a “pornography literacy” program for adolescents developed in 2016 in Boston through a partnership with the city Health Commission and a Boston University professor.

Among other things, the early program was designed to teach students that “pornography is created for entertainment and generally not for instructional purposes” and about the danger, say, of texting each other nude photos. But parents and students were supposed to be alerted to the content of the class before it was given.

The Fonte presentation reportedly did not include anything about the dangers of sexting.

“This is all part of an orthodoxy that has taken over schools across the country,” a spokesman for FAIR, the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism, told The Post. “Millions of kids are being experimented on with a new curriculum that racializes and sexualizes young children, labels them by traits like skin color, gender or sexual orientation, and tells them the paths of their lives are determined by those traits.”

Columbia Grammar & Prep School, on 93rd Street near Central Park, was founded in 1764 and its notable alumni include Herman Melville, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ally Sheedy.

The mother of a young child at the school told The Post that Columbia Prep is one of the last private schools in the city “not to have gone down the radicalized rabbit hole.” But she said the school is on the verge of hiring a DEI — a diversity, equity and inclusion director. She said parents are banding together to persuade administrators to pause the hire and consider input from organizations like FAIR and FIRE, which advocate for free speech and denounce critical race theory and other so-called “woke” policies.

On Friday, they launched an anonymous Instagram account called “@SpeakUpCGPS.”

Shortly after the Post published this story Saturday night, Columbia’s head of school Dr. William M. Donohue sent a conciliatory email to the school parents saying that 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 continued. “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.”

One of the mothers organizing the parents’ new social media campaign told the Post that Donohue’s statement doesn’t address the real issue. “It’s not about this one class. It’s about the whole radical direction the school is going into.(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)


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