Parents Outraged After Discovering NYC Prep School Is Teaching More Than Reading, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmetic

(Richard Alan Hannon/The Advocate via AP)

When New York parents forked over $47,000 per year for their kids to attend Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School, they had no idea that their children would be taught more than the usual reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic that is expected from learning institutions. However, a recent report from the New York Post reveals these parents got far more than they bargained for, and they’re not too happy about it.

According to the report, students who attended a health and sexuality workshop believing it was “just going to be about condoms or birth control” were in for quite a surprise. Instead, they were treated to a teaching called “Pornography Literacy: An intersectional focus on mainstream porn,” which was taught by Justine Ang Fonte, director of Health & Wellness at Dalton, another NYC prep school.

From the Post:

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).

As you might imagine, parents weren’t too happy to learn that their children had attended a workshop without knowing it would be rated XXX. But even the students expressed their disapproval of the lascivious lecture to which they had been exposed (pun intended).

“We were all like, ‘What?’” a female student told the Post. “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.”

The Post reported:

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.”

A female Columbia Prep student and her mother, who spoke to The Post on condition of anonymity, told the publication that the majority of the students watched the presentation via Zoom, from their homes, and that’s how some parents were made aware of the lesson. The students who were attending school in-person watched the presentation together, in the gym, on their laptops.

“We were all so shocked and mortified,” the girl said. “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.”

“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 told the Post that in her opinion the goal of the presentation “is to disrupt families” and questioned why porn was made a priority “as opposed to physics, art, literature, or poetry.”

Other parents stated that they asked school administrators to show them the presentation’s content but were refused. At least one parent was given the opportunity to speak with administrators via Zoom. “The conversation went nowhere,” she said. “The sophistry was incredible.”

While Fonte referred the Post to Dalton administrators rather than making a comment, some Dalton parents told them that Fonte “teaches classes to first and second graders that include inappropriate discussions of sexuality, possibly about masturbation” at the school.

A spokesman for the school defended the educator:

“Dalton does not teach, nor have we ever taught, the type of curriculum that is being suggested,” he 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.”

Columbia Grammar and Prep school did not warn students of Fonte’s explicit seminar on pornography. The Post noted:

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.”

But it appears that parents are not only concerned about this particular story, but the overall direction of the school. One of the mothers said: “It’s not about this one class. It’s about the whole radical direction the school is going into.”

One of the most egregious aspects of this story isn’t just the fact that people like Fonte are gaining access to the minds of young students. It’s that schools are attempting to conceal this type of teaching from parents. The reason why is obvious: Most parents would vigorously oppose having this material being presented to their children, and for good reason. It is yet another reason why parents must be cognizant of the curriculum being taught to their students.