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Public school sex-education program on hold, pending review

By Nanea Kalani

LAST UPDATED: 01:44 a.m. HST, Nov 30, 2013

A controversial sex education program that was being piloted in some Hawaii public schools will be halted and reviewed following concerns raised during the debate over legalizing same-sex marriage, the Department of Education announced Friday.

Pono Choices came under criticism from opponents of same-sex marriage, including some lawmakers, who complained that middle-school students were being taught about same-sex relationships and oral and anal sex as part of the program's curriculum.

Pono Choices is a pilot curriculum and among seven DOE-approved programs for middle schools to use for sexual health education. It was developed by the University of Hawaii-Manoa Center on Disability Studies to help reduce teen pregnancies and prevent sexually transmitted infections.

The DOE said that while all of its approved courses are in compliance with the Board of Education's abstinence-based sex education policy, Pono Choices will be placed on hold after the current fall semester.

"Recent concerns over the department's sexual education curriculum have resulted in misstatements and misunderstandings about the learning that takes place in the classroom," Leila Hayashida, assistant superintendent for the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support, said in a statement this afternoon. 

She said the DOE has asked the UH center "to address public concerns about the curriculum's descriptions of healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships." 

Twelve schools chose to use the curriculum during the previous two school years and eight other schools were scheduled to use it this school year.

"These 20 DOE schools, if implementing sexual health education prior to finalization of the second DOE review of Pono Choices, will need to select and use another curriculum," the department said in the news release.

For any course or lesson that is considered controversial, parents have the option of opting out their child, the department said.

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allie wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 29,2013 | 04:19PM
lwandcah wrote:
Why would anyone be surprised? We all new this was coming, and it's only the beginning. For all those that equated women's and black's rights, I cannot think of a single negative outcome of those landmark decisions. The little moral fabric that this country somehow managed to hang on to, is slipping away. History will tell; and unlike real civil rights issues of the past, we will look back to these days and wonder "what on earth was everyone thinking"?
on November 29,2013 | 08:55PM
pcman wrote:
The sex education curriculum must stress the causes and prevention of birth, STD and HIV. Since the legalization of same sex marriages in other states and countries AIDs has been on the increase. On the other hand, knowledge of how HIV is spread has resulted in socialist countries to consider or reconsider compensation of carriers of AIDs because of increased self-induced the HIV.
on November 29,2013 | 04:21PM
ehrhornp wrote:
I would like to see your source for Aids being on the increase in states and countries that have legalized SSM.
on November 29,2013 | 04:31PM
kiragirl wrote:
Today's paper have an article about the increase in AIDS amongst gay men due to lack of protection and less screening.
on November 29,2013 | 04:47PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Which has nothing to do with marriage equality. There is a false equivalency argument surrounding this subject. People are applying a causal relationship to a situation where there is zero evidence that one causes the other.
on November 30,2013 | 04:53AM
kiragirl wrote:
The promotion (acceptance) of same gender sex regardless of marriage equality does incur a greater amount of these relationships. Hence, it stands to reason that the increase of same gender sex amongst men will also "increase" the infection of the AIDS virus. Casual relationship? Oh, like holding hands?
on November 30,2013 | 05:41AM
RetiredWorking wrote:
kira, Downtown said "causal', not casual relationship.
on November 30,2013 | 06:22AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Our elected ones do not think this is important and passed the same gender law anyway, which is like abetting this epidemiological issue.
on November 30,2013 | 05:45AM
kuroiwaj wrote:
Ehrhornp, also check the Center for Disease Control (CDC). They have a number of reports on line. A new concern is the spreading of STD's among same-sex women. The major two are HIV/AIDS and Hepatitus. You must know the American Red Cross, Hospitals, and Blood Banks ban homosexual males as blood and organ donors. The CDC did report on the increase of STD's but not targeted to the homosexual marriage issue. The challenge remains to be the other 34 states that the voters have approved Constitutional amendments banning homosexual marriage. Remember, the U.S. Supreme Court in the California case rule it's a State issue. Oh, one of the lower Federal Courts ruled that the Federal Government must provide benefits to Reciprocal Beneficiaries, which make Hawaii's Civil Union okay for one to gain Federal benefits without the homosexual marriage law.
on November 29,2013 | 06:42PM
Skyler wrote:
"Oh, one of the lower Federal Courts ruled that the Federal Government must provide benefits to Reciprocal Beneficiaries, which make Hawaii's Civil Union okay for one to gain Federal benefits without the homosexual marriage law." This should have been promoted and pushed from the very beginning and none of this divisiveness would have happened.
on November 29,2013 | 10:56PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Little do we know it, but our government is promoting our abnormal social and culture behavior by voting these laws that go against the Word of God.
on November 30,2013 | 05:47AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Keep my dogs away from these types of people.
on November 30,2013 | 05:45AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Nice try DOE!

Like the ol' "release the news at 5pm on Friday" is going to work this time...

on November 29,2013 | 05:05PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Sorry, but I'll be eating at Buffalo Wild Wings at 5 P.M.
on November 30,2013 | 05:48AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Whoa what the heck is wrong with Karl Rhodes? This politician wrote an open letter to the public in the SA saying this was not being taught. Clearly he has either lied to the public or is very ignorant of what is going on in the public school system.
on November 29,2013 | 05:20PM
pakeheat wrote:
I emailed him saying he will not have my vote
on November 29,2013 | 08:18PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Like he had it before? Bull.
on November 30,2013 | 04:54AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Are they teaching technique. Because that would be useful.
on November 29,2013 | 05:31PM
Kealii wrote:
All you need is ground and pound!
on November 29,2013 | 10:34PM
Steve96785 wrote:
Typical DOE "leadership" decision. Rather than make informed choices based on available curricular models, let's throw out multiple half-assed options and see which ones draw complaints from minority groups. Oh no! We can't teach them anything about birth control! Oh no, we can't teach them that what feels right is natural! Abstinence surely must work, it has been such a successful program that the US has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates of all industrialized nations.
on November 29,2013 | 05:41PM
keys4me wrote:
since when is this the obligation of schools to teach this.???
on November 29,2013 | 06:39PM
BRock wrote:
Probably because so many parents don't.
on November 29,2013 | 06:56PM
Skyler wrote:
So glad my parents didn't teach me that 'o & a' sex was A-OK, and I really feel sorry for people who think that this is the way to actually help teens transition from being children to being responsible adults.
on November 29,2013 | 10:58PM
mikethenovice wrote:
The birds taught me. They would jump other each other's back and for a split second do it right in front of me.
on November 30,2013 | 05:52AM
kuroiwaj wrote:
The BOE approved the HIV, STD, and Pregnancy Prevention Education policy on March 8, 2010. It mandates the DOE to teach "abstention from sexual intercourse is the surest and most responsible way to prevent unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and consequent emotional distress."
on November 29,2013 | 07:08PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Right On! Just like the public schools do not teach our kids about saving and investing money. The government doesn't want us to save. They want us to shop, spend and fuel the M1 money supply to profit the corporate world.
on November 30,2013 | 05:50AM
EmilySamYiou58 wrote:
What of " full disclosure" and " informed consent"? Is it not required? As a parent, it should be my responsibility to teach my children about sex.
on November 29,2013 | 08:15PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
It is and it is.
on November 30,2013 | 04:55AM
NDN wrote:
Does anybody else want to know who was responsible for creating / approving this curriculum? Is Leila Hayashida responsible? It always seems that in the government sector anonymity is the norm. Let's find out who is responsible so we can correct these kinds of problems. The public has a right to know who is responsible.
on November 29,2013 | 08:18PM
Skyler wrote:
Good they put this bad idea on hold. It never should have been allowed in the first place.
on November 29,2013 | 09:23PM
Skyler wrote:
How is it you can't quote what's in the article without the 'comment being sent for approval' huh? Sooo dumb.
on November 29,2013 | 09:28PM
roughandtough wrote:
Look what happen's when the Legislature and Abercrombie wanted the Same Sex Marriage Law ! A whole can of worms got opened !!! As a parent I would teach my own children about sex, pregnancy and diseases. And this I have done ! I don't want them to learn about how Gay's and Lesbian's do things from a teacher or what the State Curriculum says. Parents be responsible for your keiki's education !!
on November 30,2013 | 03:27AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Our elected ones are changing the cultural landscape for our children like never before. Have we run buck a loose?
on November 30,2013 | 05:55AM
jimbone wrote:
Opting out? I'll teach my son which hole is used for what. One for pregnancy and one for the toilet. Period.
on November 30,2013 | 04:12AM
mikethenovice wrote:
He'll teach you before you teach him.
on November 30,2013 | 05:53AM
jimbone wrote:
Haha, don't think so
on November 30,2013 | 07:29AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Hurry. The kids' hormone are not going to wait.
on November 30,2013 | 05:39AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Kids have other ways to learn now days via the social media websites.
on November 30,2013 | 05:42AM
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