The Film

Released in 2005 at the Sundance Film Festival, The Education of Shelby Knox has been used in classrooms and communities to highlight the need for comprehensive sex education, gay rights, and youth activism.

The film tells the story of  feisty teenager Shelby Knox of Lubbock, Texas. Although her county’s high schools teach abstinence as the only safe sex, Lubbock has some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in the nation. Shelby, a devout Christian who has pledged abstinence until marriage herself, becomes an unlikely advocate for comprehensive sex education, profoundly changing her political and spiritual views along the way. When Shelby’s interest in politics leads her to get involved in a campaign for comprehensive sex education in her town’s public schools, and then to a fight for a gay-straight alliance, Shelby must make a choice: Stand by and let others be hurt, or go against her parents, her pastor, and her peers to do what she knows is right.

Full Film Synopsis

Discussion Guide for Teachers

Order the Film

23 responses to “The Film

  1. Jessica Mendoza

    THIS MOVIE INSPIRED ME SO MUCH AND REALLY MOTIVATES ME TO KEEP PROGRESSING IN THE COMMUNITY. WE WATCHED IT FOR A MOVIE NIGHT IN OUR FEMALE LEADERSHIP ACADEMY HERE IN VISALIA, CA. AND I REALLY TOOK A LOT FROM IT. LUBBOCK IS SO MUCH LIKE VISALIA!!! I THINK THAT YEAR THEY WANTED YOU AS A KEYNOTE FOR OUR ANNUAL EVENT BUT IM SURE YOU WERE SUPER BUSY!! I WOULD LOVE TO ACTUALLY MEET YOU BECAUSE YOUR WORK DOES INSPIRE ME AND OTHERS AND I APPRECIATE YOU HAVING THE COURAGE TO BEGIN A NEW BLOG. ILL BE READING LOVE YA!!!

  2. Great work Shelby!!! Don’t listen to the criticism of others, you are right on course and right on time with the serious issues surrounding eduction. Keep on asking questions and seeking to find a voice for teens. You are going to succeed, for you have already asked some wonderful questions and are opening doors for others by doing so. Keep on being a leader. This world needs people who have vision and a willingness to step up and take some action. Keep it up!

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  4. Ronja

    Shelby – YOU ROCK!!
    I just watched the film, and I can’t believe what a bright and reflected teenager you were. So I googled you, just to make sure that you are still as awesome now, as you were then – judging by this blog, you are! Awesome. Just awesome.

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  8. I wish I’d been as awesome as you at 15. Thank you for putting yourself out there – it’s what changing the world is all about.

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  11. Jillian Pinney

    I just saw your film. It was fantastic… I absolutely love how supportive and loving your parents were with you during high school. I loved when your mom went with you to the protest, and that you wanted her to go, and also when your Dad went with you when you resigned from the Committee. They both really showed up for you! I love the last part when your mom is saying that she would vote for you if (when!) you run for President, even though that would mean voting for a Democrat! Anyway, amazing project, and I love how brave and outspoken you are and how you kept your cool with some of those “grown ups” who tried to control and intimidate you when you talked with them. Good work!

  12. I just watched the film and it was great. You are an example I want my son and daughter to follow: Stand up for what is right no matter what! I live in Eastern KY, not that much different in many ways where you grew up, and as a feminist myself I find it difficult sometimes to find a common voice, so I applaud you. You give me hope for your generation and all the ones to come.

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  17. Suzanne

    I recently viewed “The Education of Shelby Knox”. Like many others, I was left feeling very inspired. As a woman and a Christian of the same age it made me feel sane to know that there are Liberal women in North America looking for positive change much like myself. I hope your voice will continue to be heard and continue to inspire people of all walks of life.

  18. Pingback: The Education of Shelby Knox: Reproductive Rights and the Importance of Access « Room for Change.

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  20. C. Qui

    Hey, Shelby! Just saw the film today. You and your family are so impressive, and your story is moving and inspiring. Like you, I am (relatively) privileged, cisgendered (thanks for teaching me that word!) and imperfect. Your film helped me identify one of my own fears/prejudices: that conservative Republicans could be other than narrow-minded. My thanks and best wishes go to you, your family and the filmmakers.

  21. Tyler Seckinger

    A 2007 research project conducted by condom manufacturer Durex has found that Austrian men are the most promiscuous in the world. With this interesting revelation, many officials are now asking whether there are already appropriate safe sex measures in the country for men to engage in sexual activity with appropriate protection from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy.’

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