A ‘Must-See’ Film: The Education Of Shelby Knox

Talk about a movie that will make your head spin… I recently watched the film, The Education Of Shelby Knox: Sex, Lies, and Education and if sexual education is something you fancy, I highly recommend that you check this out.

The 2005 documentary (directed and produced by Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt) focuses on Shelby Knox – a teenage girl who joins a campaign for implementing comprehensive sex education in the high schools of her hometown (Lubbock, Texas).

Photo courtesy to SLC Film Center

Photo courtesy to SLC Film Center

What makes this documentary so fascinating is how much controversy Knox stirs up… Let me elaborate. On one side we have Lubbock – a very religious town located in the northwestern region of Texas. The school board believes that all high schools throughout the entire county should strictly follow the federally funded, abstinence-only sex education approach.

City officials believe that if students are educated about condom use and birth-control, this will influence the students to experiment with sex; therefore resulting in more unwanted teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

(Interesting side note: Knox informs us at the beginning of the film that Lubbock has some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in the nation. Funny, apparently their whole abstinence-only method isn’t working out so hot. Anyways, back to the review…)

One the other side we have Shelby Knox; a politically conservative, highly religious, Southern Baptist who has pledged abstinence until marriage. Yet Knox’s views begin to change after she joins the Lubbock Youth Commission, which is a group of high school students who are highly involved with Lubbock’s city government.

Although Knox still believes abstinence is the correct choice for her, by working with the Lubbock Youth Commission she realizes that the city’s current sex-ed programs are not effective. She decides that it is time for the youth of Lubbock to stand up and fight for the sexual information they deserve.

Obviously I don’t want to spoil the film, but the issues that Knox causes within the community by questioning the city’s sex-ed methods (not to mention going against what her parents as well as pastor have taught her) makes for an interesting documentary.

My Thoughts

After watching this film, I was some what taken back by the negative connotation that was associated with teaching adolescents about condom use and birth control.

Allow me to make it cleat that in no way am I bashing the idea of abstinence, in fact that is the one method of ‘birth control’ that is 100% safe.

But (to me) it seems ignorant to only teach the nation’s youth about abstinence. In a perfect world we would like to believe that teenagers would have enough common sense to refrain from having unprotected sex, yet this is not a perfect world and not all adolescents know the risks associated with having unprotected sex.

Then one must factor in the fact that not everyone holds the same religious beliefs or has the same outlook on sexuality; therefore I think it is wisest to teach teens about abstinence as well as other forms of protection.

Anyways, if you have the chance to watch the film - definitely do and let me know what you think! You’ll be surprised by the outcome at the end (I definitely was)!

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About Madeline Haller

Madeline Haller

Madeline Haller is an Assistant Editor for MensHealth.com. Haller received her bachelor's degree in journalism from Indiana University, with a second concentration in gender studies. When she's not writing for MSP/MH, you can find her running, enjoying a cup of coffee, or searching for the perfect shade of red lipstick.