The Education of Shelby Knox

2005 NR 1h 16m DVD

The Education of Shelby Knox

2005 NR 1h 16m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Small-town Texas teenager Shelby Knox becomes an advocate for sex education (and the local media's so-called "Sex Ed Girl") when she tries to improve the county's sky-high teen pregnancy rate by challenging her high school's policy of teaching abstinence. In this documentary from Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt -- which uses footage shot over a three-year period -- the action unfolds almost effortlessly, revealing a stunning transformation.
Shelby Knox
Marion Lipschutz, Rose Rosenblatt
Full Screen 1.33:1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
NR - Not rated. This movie has not been rated by the MPAA.
age 15+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 15+
age 15+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that this documentary looks critically at abstinence-only education and its religious underpinnings. It talks openly about teen sex, abstinence-only education, and contraception use, and is likely to upset most viewers at some point. Depending on the political bent of the viewers, they'll be offended either by the push for comprehensive sex education in the school or the push for abstinence-only education. Shelby hangs out with gay teens.

Sexual Content

Talk about abstinence and abstinence pledges, and sex with and without a condom. One sex educator shows how to put a condom on a dildo. Girls are ascribed a point value for how much sexual experience they have and then boys try to go out with the girls with the least experience and "screw" them. Some kissing and hugging, but nothing explicit. Gay teens are shown, sometimes with arms around their shoulder, but no kissing and nothing explicit. A school official is discovered to be having an affair at the office. There's talk about teens who are gay having a life-expectancy of 40 years and being sinners, and talk of teens who have sex being "like dogs on a streetcorner."


One teen talks about boys trying to hit him with a baseball bat.


Ocassional swearing, including "f--k" and "hell."

Social Behavior

Shelby and her parents talk openly about issues they disagree with and encourage their daughter to follow her dreams. Teens and adults deal with the hot-button issue of teen sex in a mature way, though they often disagree.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

One girl talks about having liquor bottles as "best friends" but no one drinks on-screen.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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