Friday, August 22, 2008

Today In - 'Shame Based Lecturing'

School speaker berates students over 'slutty' pictures

'WINDSOR – A school district is apologizing after a police officer invited to speak at a high school assembly called out students by name, saying their pages were inviting to sexual predators.

Windsor High School Principal Rick Porter has apologized to the parents of two high school girls targeted in the lecture by Cheyenne Police Officer John Gay on Tuesday.

Porter told parents he had heard Gay's Internet safety presentation before, and while he knew the officer would mention local students online postings, Porter told parents he was surprised by the tone and language used.

"He basically just said I was asking to be raped," said Shaylah Nordic, a Windsor sophomore.

A photo from Nordic's page, depicting her in a T-shirt and shorts, bending over and pointing at a new pair of shoes, was displayed on a screen in front of two separate student assemblies.

"He was saying that the posture of her rear end could be appealing to a sexual predator," said Ty Nordic, Shaylah's father.

"He did this in a mocking way," Ty said. "He took a pretty innocent picture and made it look sleazy."

Ty says Gay told the students that older men would be masturbating to her picture.

"She was belittled, embarrassed and humiliated," Ty said.

Ty says he accepts the school's apology but questions why teachers or administrators failed to intervene as Gay mocked his daughter until she ran from the room in tears. Gay then moved on to target photos of other Windsor students.

"I understand the intent of the program," Ty said. "But he went way, way, way too far."

His daughter agrees.

"The whole MySpace awareness thing, I am on-board 100 percent," said Shaylah. "But he could have done it in a different way."

Shaylah says teachers comforted her after she left the assembly but did not step in beforehand, even when other students yelled at Gay to leave her alone.

"My counselor said none of them knew what to do," Shaylah said. "(They didn't feel like) they had the authority to tell him to stop."

She says Gay called her later in the week to apologize.

Gay did not return a call requesting comment.

Porter declined an on-camera interview but agreed to answer questions submitted by e-mail. His response has not been received.'

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