"I glanced over and, whatever, I just let him continue on with his business," said a 16-year-old along with a friend, stumbled upon a couple engaging in oral sex. "I stayed for five to eight minutes, just talking. We weren't worried about it. When the ayah came in, everyone started running."
A school officials weren't as laid back. The students -- eight in all -- were quickly identified and suspended, and the matter prompted the small school system to confront an issue many adults would rather not face: in this case, two girls and three boys engaging in oral sex or intercourse on school property while three other boys watched, according to sources familiar with what happened.
"In all the years that I've been in education, I've never run into this one before," said a school's superintendent. "It's a new one."
Actually, it's not so new. According to some teenagers, sex on school property is more frequent than adults might imagine. And some adults who work with teenagers said it's happening more often these days.
There's anecdotal evidence to support that:
Two students were discovered recently having sex in a high school sports room. Four students of a school were arrested after performing sex acts in the school parking lot. A boy and a girl were caught "touching inappropriately" in a school bathroom. Last year, three teenage boys were arrested after a student accused them of sexually assaulting her in a school restroom, but charges were dropped after the boys said the sex was consensual and the girl recanted.
"Students would have intercourse on the stairwells, locked classrooms, in the locker rooms," said an 18-year-old. "It was embarrassing for me to walk in on it."
A19-year-old, who passed out in June said that for some students, sex on campus is a popular fantasy -- and sometimes a reality -- particularly in the auditorium.
"It's so big, it's so dark," she said. "There's a lot more places to find privacy -- behind the stage and on the catwalk."
But what's the appeal? "Just being rebellious," she said. "Coming back to class and saying, 'Ooh, guess what I just did? I just had sex in the auditorium.' "
A sexuality educator, said she has been hearing more about similar occurrences in the past five years. "Schools are calling me, asking, 'What do we do? We've had this incident at our school.' "
The fact that teenagers have sex is well established: Roughly half of all 15- to 19-year-olds have had vaginal intercourse, and more than half have had oral sex, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But getting a handle on the reasons students are emboldened to risk having sex at school is as tricky as figuring out how many are doing it. Musawwir, who has helped lead teen forums on sex, said she thinks students have sex in school because they have nowhere else to go. "And it's the thrill of getting caught or not. And the media has a lot of things to do with it. They think that if they see it on TV, they can get away with it in real life."
For example, the popular movie "Mean Girls" -- a comedy about clique warfare in high school -- showed a girl in a bra and skirt making out with a guy in briefs in the school auditorium's projection room.
School Resource Officers, said teenagers do whatever they think their peers are doing, whether they are or not. "The thing about young people is when they see things in the mass media and they think it's going on, they start doing it."
A 16-year-old who said she is friends with one of the girls who was suspended said the episode wasn't surprising. "It wasn't that big of a deal," she said. But she said her friend "regrets what she did. She knows it wasn't a smart thing to do. But everybody whispering about her doesn't help."
Not all teenagers accept such incidents as "no big deal." A few nights after the news broke, students from other institutions, standing in a drizzle to cheer on a girls field hockey game, pronounced it "weird" and "embarrassing."
"What do you call it ?" 17-year-old senior said, giggling as she tried to come up with the word. "They don't happen. That's not normal teenage behavior."
"I would just wonder, like, what's going through their heads -- like, 'Okay, guys, let's meet at 3:30 behind the curtain?' " she said.
It can be hard to police everything that goes on at school, especially after hours, when club meetings, sports practices and rehearsals take place. In many schools, hall monitors and other adults stay late to make sure students are there for legitimate reasons.
But even adults do not always know how to handle the sex issue. A teacher said he found two students having sex last year near the TT table in a high school sports room. The teacher said he didn't report the couple because he was worried about repercussions for them -- or himself.
"I've seen and heard situations when you don't have support. These stories come back and kick you in the face," said the teacher, who is in his thirties.
He said he doesn't think an adult's word is worth as much as it used to be. "Kids have a voice or whatever, which is great, but at the same time, you see [teachers] who step up and say something and they get mashed."
Many schools don't have rules specifically banning sex on campus but punish students who do it through a clause prohibiting "immoral conduct" or behavior that offends the community's morals, say school staff. More specific policies would make it easier for schools to defend themselves against legal challenges.
After the ayah reported the incident, school officials checked and identified eight students who had entered the auditorium. The three who watched were suspended for five days; the others for 10. One of the two girls claimed she was coerced, but police did not find enough evidence to file charges.
School administrators are drafting a rule that bans sex on school property.
Some students noted a double standard among their schoolmates, saying the girls involved were being called "sluts" and "whores" while the boys faced censure mostly because some felt they had jeopardized the football team.
"I don't think any of the guys [in school] really admired any of the people involved," said a senior and an editor on the school paper. He said his teammates were angry with the male participants, all of whom were on the team, because they were top players and their suspensions threatened the season.
"We had gone through three years of hard times, [and] we finally got off to a hot start," he said.
Parents complained that they did not hear from the School Board about the auditorium incident until nearly three weeks later in a letter.
"I was waiting for some type of communication from the school," said a parent who heard about the incident from her son. "Nothing came out except rumors."
Some parents said the matter got them talking to their children in discussions they might not have at Osbourn, where, according to the school system's director of instructional services, Sandy Thompson, health classes focus on abstinence and sexually transmitted diseases but not condoms or contraception.
As to warning teenagers off sex, "You can preach that as a parent, and hopefully they will listen to you, but when it comes to that particular moment of passion, what are you going to do?"
Society is more open. You see two women kissing on MTV. You have things talked about, like 'straight versus gay.
Rather than a call for contraception, shouldn’t that be a wakeup call questioning our culture?