A former Delta County, Colo. high school student has come out regarding treatment she received from her school for her activism and journalistic activities. After questioning the school’s ethics and finding issue with the school’s budget, this former high school student found herself on the receiving end of threats and retaliation by teachers and administrators alike.
18-year-old Cidney Fisk was a gifted high school student sporting a 4.1 GPA and a laundry list of extracurricular activities. She was involved in student government (student body treasurer during her senior year), a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, and captain of the speech and debate team. Cidney was also part of the school’s journalism department where she learned to be inquisitive and find the truth.
It was as a journalist, Cidney began to feel the wrath of Delta High School.
Last October, Delta High School brought in speaker Shelly Donahue to address students about sexual education. Colorado law states that high school students are required to be taught sexual education, including such topics as sexually-transmitted diseases and contraception. Cidney, through her investigation of Ms. Donahue, found that the speaker’s talks contained copious amounts of questionable and objectionable content, including such nuggets as:
“In the presence of sperm girls’ vaginas turn into little Hoover vacuum cleaners and suck it up.”
“Boys tend to wired sexually like microwaves and girls tend to be like crock pots.”
Ms. Donahue is also responsible for this infamous horrifying analogy:
Cidney also realized that Ms. Donahue’s abstinence-only-before-marriage sexual education platform also included shaming girls who had premarital sex, likening them to used duct tape and dirty diapers.
In protest of Delta High School’s decision, Cidney and some of her friends wore T-shirts to school that sported phrases like “I prefer science,” “Real control is birth control,” and “I abstain from ideology.” During the talk to Delta High School students, Ms. Donahue noted that premarital sex “puts you further from God,”
confirming Cidney’s concerns that the school, through the usage of Ms. Donahue, had violated the separation of church and state. Cidney wrote about the lecture for her school paper, noting that every slide Ms. Donahue showed students contained a Christian cross.
Another Christian speaker was brought to the school to give students a lecture on drug abuse. Chad Williams, a born-again Christian and former Navy SEAL, is the author of SEAL of God, a book described as:
“Part memoir, part evangelism piece, SEAL of God follows Chad’s journey through the grueling Naval Ops training and onto the streets of Iraq, where he witnessed the horrors of war up close. Along the way, Chad shares his own radical conversion story and talks about how he draws on his own experiences as a SEAL to help others better understand the depth of Christ’s sacrifice and love.”
During his lecture to Cidney’s student government class, Mr. Williams found himself on the receiving end of Cidney’s journalistic integrity. She asked him point-blank what his qualifications were, considering his book was about his conversion to Christianity and his experiences in Iraq. Her inquiry drew the ire of her student government teacher, Mr. John Miller, who chastised her publicly for her questions.
But the most egregious offense the school committed during Cidney’s story came just a short time later when the gifted high school student logged in to check her grades and found that her student government grade had been dropped from a 98 to a 70.
“Mr. Miller… had given her failing grades for three solid months without telling her, and had waited until right before spring break to post them to her record all at once.
She asked Mr. Miller why he suddenly started giving her Fs, and he told Cidney that ‘questioning authority’ and ‘her attitude’ were the reasons for the low grades he had given her in student government.”
You know, that kind of helps put in perspective an incident where I was sentenced to in-school suspension for writing a paper wherein I called former President George W. Bush a terrorist.
The good news is that Cidney has graduated and will be attending college in Denver in the fall. The bad news, however, is that these same teachers and administrators are running Delta High School. If another high school student like Cidney comes along, this story may be told again. Given that Delta High School is in the same school district that caught flak last year for giving out Gideon Bibles to middle school students, I think it may be safe to assume we haven’t heard the last of Delta.
Author’s Note: Blogger Anne Landman wrote a thorough and eye-opening account of Cidney Fisk’s tumultuous relationship with Delta High School staff. It can be read here.