Biologist Olga Shchegoleva uses her scientific training to educate adults about sex. In addition to being involved in “Ne Stidno” (“Not Ashamed”) — a project that teaches parents how to talk to their children about sex, — she’s also a member of the expert community “Seksprosvet 18+” (“SexEd 18+”). And for the past year and a half, she’s been running her own Instagram blog dedicated to sex education. Unfortunately, this passion project recently lost Olga Shchegoleva her day job as a biology teacher at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory. According to the local newspaper Fontanka, Shchegoleva was forced to resign after parents complained to the school about her blog and the administration gave her an ultimatum.
Olga Shchegoleva began working at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory in September 2021. She taught biology and, according to the local newspaper Fontanka, the school’s administration didn’t have any complaints about her work. Nevertheless, she was forced to tender her resignation about two weeks ago. According to Shchegoleva, she did so under “pressure from the administration of the institution” — they gave her an ultimatum: your blog or your job.
In an interview with the St. Petersburg-based outlet Bumaga, Shchegoleva explained that some parents didn’t like her sex education blog and therefore complained about her to the school administration several times. After the first complaint, Shchegoleva was asked to take down and edit several posts. After the second complaint, she was asked to delete her blog altogether. “I refused to delete my Instagram and stop my educational activities with adults. Because of this, we came to the conclusion that I can’t work [at the conservatory] because it contradicts the moral code of a teacher,” Shchegoleva recalled.
The mother of two girls attending the school told Gazeta.ru that although some parents objected to the contents of Shchegoleva’s blog, not everyone wanted to see her leave. “The parents didn’t like that the blog talks about the anatomy of the body, sexuality, and so on, but a few sane and modern parents spoke out against Olga Shchegoleva’s dismissal,” she said.
The students at the school also didn’t want their biology teacher to resign and even collected signatures in support of her, Shchegoleva told Komsomolskaya Pravda. “Four classes signed a paper in support of me. They’re sorry that I was forced to leave because of a small number of parents. The school’s principal asked me to take back my resignation. But the administration failed to resolve the conflict with the parents. I feared further persecution and complaints against me. So I decided to leave the school,” she added.
The St. Petersburg State Conservatory’s press service confirmed Shchegoleva’s resignation to journalists, claiming that she left “of her own free will.”
We won’t give up Because you’re with us
I’m with you, Meduza
Translation by Eilish Hart