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Police investigate threat against GW principal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Police believe someone from out-of-state made a threat on social media Tuesday night to shoot the George Washington High School principal.

Charleston police were at the school Wednesday morning to investigate, according to Lt. C.E. Sisson of the Charleston Police Department.

Sisson said the threat was regarding the speech at the school last week by Pam Stenzel, an abstinence-only speaker brought in by Believe in West Virginia, a religious group. Several students and parents were upset by Stenzel's comments, and that students were required by Principal George Aulenbacher to attend.

Lt. Shawn Williams said someone threatened to shoot Aulenbacher on a Facebook page created in support of the principal.

"We take any of those [threats] seriously, especially any of those dealing with students or staff at schools," Williams said.

Police planned to contact Facebook to have the posting removed, according to Williams.

A GW student confirmed there was an "increased police presence" at the school this morning because of the threat.

Katelyn Campbell, the school's student body president, asked for an injunction in Kanawha Circuit Court against Aulenbacher on Monday, alleging he threatened to call the college where she's been accepted and tell them she has "bad character" for speaking up against the controversial abstinence-only assembly.

In the assembly, Stenzel allegedly told students things like, "If your mom gives you birth control, she probably hates you" and that premarital sex causes women to become infertile.

Campbell is demanding Aulenbacher resign from his position as principal and apologize to the school community.

A "Friends of Aulenbacher" Facebook page created since Campbell's legal action has about 700 likes and is encouraging students and parents who support him to speak at the Kanawha County Board of Education meeting Thursday at 6 p.m.

Campbell's story has made national headlines. She was interviewed on CNN earlier this week about the assembly.

Supporters of Wellesley College, where Campbell has been accepted, created a petition on Change.org in support of her, saying, "We think you'll fit right in."

"The Wellesley College community recently learned how you bravely stood up to your school principal to protest an abstinence-only assembly on campus. We're sorry you were so harshly rebuked by school officials and other members of your community for exercising your right to free speech and advocating for women's rights," the petition reads. "We know this must be a challenging time, and we want you to know that your Wellesley Sisters stand with you."

The online petition had more than 500 supporters by press time.

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723. Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.mays@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.


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