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Pono Choices sex ed program to return to Hawaii schools

By Nanea Kalani

LAST UPDATED: 01:19 a.m. HST, Dec 14, 2013

A controversial sexual education program can again be taught in public school classrooms, the Department of Education announced Friday, two weeks after it halted the Pono Choices program for review.

The program, which was being taught on a trial basis in some schools, came under criticism from opponents of same-sex marriage, including some lawmakers and parents, who complained that middle-school students were being taught about same-sex relationships and oral and anal sex as part of the curriculum.

It was 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.

"A review of Pono Choices confirmed the curriculum is medically accurate, appropriate and aligned with health education, state law and DOE policy," the department said in a news release Friday afternoon.

"Our review not only affirmed that the curriculum meets department standards, but it also showed that Pono Choices is a culturally responsive curriculum that has resulted in positive outcomes for students," Leila Hayashida, assistant superintendent for the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support, said in a statement. "In this case that means more youth abstaining from sex and less teen pregnancy and STI transmission."  

The DOE said 12 schools are expected to teach Pono Choices next semester. Some of the schools have been using the curriculum for the past four semesters, while others will be using the curriculum for the first time.  

Schools hold informational sessions with parents prior to using Pono Choices, and parents can opt their child out of any course or lesson that is considered controversial, the department said.

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hawaiiwalter wrote:
Youngsters need age appropriate sex education. This program does exactly that.
on December 13,2013 | 03:45PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
I don't think teaching a 7th grader about anal and oral sex is appropriate at all. The DOE has it's hands full just teaching math, science and english, they should leave the sex ed to the parents and medical professionals. This state is run by incompetents and unions.
on December 13,2013 | 08:33PM
eoe wrote:
Really? What exactly do you think you are protecting them from? If you think a substantial subset of 7th graders (12-13 y.o.) aren't already familiar with, talking about and in some cases engaging in oral sex then you are delusional. They sure were 25 years ago and things haven't exactly trended in a victorian direction.
on December 14,2013 | 05:17AM
Anonymous wrote:
It seems some would rather our children learn about these issues the hard way or through their friends.
on December 14,2013 | 08:58AM
NITRO08 wrote:
Wake up!
on December 14,2013 | 11:37AM
lwandcah wrote:
Here we go. Just what we were afraid of. Buckle up, it's going to be a rough one.
on December 13,2013 | 09:43PM
Anonymous wrote:
Have you actually read the curriculum Chicken Little?
on December 14,2013 | 08:57AM
on December 14,2013 | 09:13AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
I have. Have you?
on December 14,2013 | 09:43AM
3x, how many have you?
on December 14,2013 | 11:30AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Interesting. How did you get access to the specific curriculum?
on December 14,2013 | 01:48PM
TheFarm wrote:
Right on! Our youth need age-appropriate, truthful, science based info to make the right choices. Glad this program has overcome Bob McDermottʻs shameful attempted smear job.
on December 13,2013 | 04:51PM
hawaiikone wrote:
Have you seen the "program"?
on December 13,2013 | 05:44PM
Anonymous wrote:
Have you?
on December 14,2013 | 08:39AM
hawaiikone wrote:
No, other than statements from contributing consultants. I'm not aware the specific curriculum is available to the public. One consultant stands out, "Making proud choices", a group targeting 11 to 13 year olds. It's message includes making sex fun, and pleasurable condom use. By the way, have you seen the classroom material?
on December 14,2013 | 11:25AM
kiragirl wrote:
Oh, so homosexuality is a CHOICE?
on December 14,2013 | 02:23AM
Anonymous wrote:
Did you choose to be heterosexual before or after you sampled lesbianism? If it is a choice, why is it your business how someone has sex?
on December 14,2013 | 08:41AM
joyce1 wrote:
Ask Anne Heche.
on December 14,2013 | 01:56PM
kaleo_1 wrote:
I'm offended with the misuse of the word "pono"
on December 13,2013 | 06:13PM
palani wrote:
Aberrant lifestyles are not "pono choices".
on December 14,2013 | 03:58AM
eoe wrote:
Aberrant: (adj) departing from an accepted standard. Note "accepted standard." You might be surprised to learn that over time, accepted standards evolve and change. See also slavery, civil rights, womens suffrage - all of which were once seen as aberrant positions. Today, more than 50% of the people in this country do not believe that there is anything wrong with homosexuality. Therefore it has become you that is "aberrant" as your beliefs are outside the mainstream. See how it works?
on December 14,2013 | 05:22AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Perhaps you once regarded "slavery, civil rights, womens suffrage" as having been "aberrant" positions, but God never did. Can't say the same about homosexuality though.
on December 14,2013 | 05:32AM
eoe wrote:
Subjugation of slaves, women and inferior races are all called for in the bible. And when it came time to end those practices, the same types of biblical arguments were used against to rail against changes to the "natural order of things" as are now being used by the anti-homesexuality crowd.
on December 14,2013 | 06:17AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Could you refer us to the specific scriptures that "called for" these subjugations?
on December 14,2013 | 06:26AM
eoe wrote:
"For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man." (I Corinthians 11:8-9); "Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." (I Timothy 2:11-14); "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." (Ephesians 5:22-24)
on December 14,2013 | 07:01AM
eoe wrote:
"However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way." (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT); "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ." (Ephesians 6:5 NLT); "Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them." (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)
on December 14,2013 | 07:03AM
hawaiikone wrote:
I see several others have joined. Green, still waiting for ypur substantiation regarding your biblical understanding. And anonymous, as I told you before, if you want to debate God's word, bring it. If you want to argue gay marriage, there is no other realistic argument against it than God's word.
on December 14,2013 | 11:08AM
eoe wrote:
Is that enough or should I continue.
on December 14,2013 | 07:03AM
Anonymous wrote:
Let the parsing begin. You're not assuming he wants to "debate", are you?
on December 14,2013 | 08:45AM
eoe wrote:
I sincerely believe there are many christians who have not read their own book. They just listen to what they are told on Sundays - which is apparently abortion is evil, homosexuality is a sin, and god wants you to be rich.
on December 14,2013 | 09:20AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
I suspect what you say is true eoe. I also believe there are many who DO read their own book, but also use their critical thinking skills to make up their own minds as well as many who interpret the book differently than how they are TOLD to interpret it. I have both types of people in my life. Those that believe they have the only correct interpretation and insist others abide by it are dangerous.
on December 14,2013 | 09:47AM
hawaiikone wrote:
All of your quotes fail to support your assertion that God desires us to engage in slavery, or wants men to subjugate women. Without an understanding of the overall intentions God has for us it becomes quite easy to misinterpret isolated scripture. God spoke situationally, in the context of the times. Slavery was the norm, and He clarified the duties of either side of the relationship. Woman was created as a helpmate for man, and in a proper marital relationship, should submit to the spiritual authority of her husband. That instruction works together with the verses immediately following, which command the husband to put his wife above himself, honoring her in all he does. How often do you see that happening today? Easy to pick and chose scripture that seem incongruous with life as we live it today, and removing a belief in God and the truth of His word makes it's guidance seem ludicrous in the eyes of non believers. Until an individual realizes his sinful nature, and seeks forgiveness and direction from God, he will continue to live as his own wisdom directs him. "Civil rights" may dominate your interest now, yet how you handle your relationship with your creator will determine your eternal situation.
on December 14,2013 | 10:57AM
eoe wrote:
Rich. So essentially the bible says what you want it to say. Goodbye. mental note: hawaiikone is not a serious poster.
on December 14,2013 | 11:18AM
hawaiikone wrote:
No, it says what God intended it to say, not what you or I wish it said. It's on us to confirm our understanding through prayer. As Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man. But it's end is the way of death.".
on December 14,2013 | 01:30PM
kekelaward wrote:
Key words "In this country". Not in the rest of the world.
on December 14,2013 | 12:12PM
eoe wrote:
Just in the parts I would want to live in. You know, modern societies with human rights like western Europe, Canada, and the US. Do you feel any sense of unease at all when you start making arguments like "well, they don't like this kind of thing in Russia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia?"
on December 14,2013 | 12:46PM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Looks like representative Karl Rhodes through his letter to the editor either flat out lied or was completely ignorant that this program existed within State government. Does anyone know which of the two is true about this politician?
on December 13,2013 | 06:16PM
serfboy wrote:
I guess those against this program haven't spent a school day on any public campus in a while. Would they rather the students teach each other about s e x? And do they know that heteros e x ual people engage in oral and an al s e x also?
on December 13,2013 | 06:23PM
kaleo_1 wrote:
I have . . . throughout the state- I would rather it be taught at home at the pace that is developmentally appropriate for the child.
on December 13,2013 | 07:48PM
Anonymous wrote:
Under state guidelines, anyone can do that. They can also choose to have their children learn through the Pono Choices curriculum where it is available.
on December 14,2013 | 08:57AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
In Utah a Federal judge today ruled against the prohibition of polygamy. True story. So now I suppose we will add a new dimension to relationships...polygamous same and mixed sex marriages.
on December 13,2013 | 06:32PM
eoe wrote:
Whats wrong with polygamy - after all, bible says it is OK and that seems to be the book that your ilk keeps referring us to.
on December 14,2013 | 05:24AM
bsdetection wrote:
That is not how the judge ruled. The ruling struck down a Utah prohibition against unmarried persons living together. That same law could apply equally to any unmarried couple. Polygamy laws in most states bar having multiple marriage licenses. There is nothing illegal in those states about being legally married to one partner and having other persons in the household who purport to be part of the marriage.
on December 14,2013 | 05:42AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Splitting hairs. The actual ruling was nuanced but the point being made is that consensual relationships of all kinds are being legitimized or at least decriminalized. The logical extension is that sex education will need to address the various combinations and permutations if it is to reflect reality. Multiple "partner" relationships bring them unique considerations from both a mental and physical health standpoint.
on December 14,2013 | 07:47AM
Anonymous wrote:
Should those types of relationships be ignored when children are being taught how to keep from getting pregnant, a disease, or disrespected? Or how the body works sexually? Do you think keeping accurate knowledge from them will make those types of situations magically not exist? I would rather my children be equipped with facts. It's my job to do that, and I have and will, but many families do not have the time, ability, or accurate information to do it properly, so should we let those children fall through the cracks and "wing" it or get their knowledge from TV, movies, and music only?
on December 14,2013 | 08:51AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
I happen to agree with you. I especially like your comment about the role of parents. My observation is that the whole issue of relationships, which drives any sex discussion, is changing very fast and new dimensions keep popping up.
on December 14,2013 | 02:47PM
Kealii wrote:
As long as parents continue to have a choice on whether their children are taught "pono choices" I don't see a problem with it no matter what side you're on. Parents should ultimately be responsible for their children, not government.
on December 13,2013 | 06:48PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Well said Kealii. I wonder why so many work so hard to limit choices of how kids are educated to only what they deem appropriate. I want them to leave it up to ME what I think is appropriate for my kids and they should mind their own business.
on December 14,2013 | 09:16AM
false wrote:
Problem is that "Pono Choices" instructs the children to NOT listen to their parents and encourages them to go out and experiment with all manner of things - especially the homosexual lifestyle.
on March 24,2014 | 08:27AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
I disagree, the material is inappropriate for schools to be teaching to any child. Like religion, the school should "butt out" and leave this issue to the parents and medical professionals to handle. Common sense I would think but then this state is run by incompetent people. Particularly the DOE, DLNR, DHHL and UH, all perform poorly, just like Abercrombie.
on December 13,2013 | 08:40PM
Anonymous wrote:
Have you read the curriculum?
on December 14,2013 | 08:52AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
IRT saywhatyouthink: It is not up to you to decide what or how my children are taught.
on December 14,2013 | 09:17AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
sent for approval
on December 13,2013 | 08:40PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
This paper sucks every since it merged with HA.
on December 13,2013 | 08:41PM
BlueDolphin53 wrote:
So Hayashida brags that it meets "department standards" as if those standards were handed down by God almighty himself. After all, who are we to question "department standards." Good grief, what arrogance. I hate to see what "department standards are going to be like in 50 years." Probably have a straight and gay couple come in and do a live demonstration.
on December 14,2013 | 06:23AM
bekwell wrote:
Sex education in school is a departure from teaching the basics that a student will need to succeed in life; or at least to be able to get a job. There is not enough hours spent in school to begin with, and teaching nonsense is detrimental to a students total knowledge. You may be surprised that people in that age bracket probably know more about sex than those teaching. Subjects like sex, religion, and other non scholastic practices are the responsibility of the parents, and not something to be mandated by politicians and judges.
on December 14,2013 | 06:37AM
eoe wrote:
Except the studies show that when you take the approach you are proposing, your STD and pregnancy rates go through the roof, then little Jane doesn't have the opportunity to get a job and succeed in life because she is a teenage mom. Mississippi: No mandated sex-ed, abstinence only must be part of the curriculum if taught: 55 births per 1000 teenagers, New Hampshire, state mandated sex-ed no "abstinence only" nonsense, wow, shocker, 16 births per 1000 teenagers. Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle found that teenagers who received some type of comprehensive sex education were 60 percent less likely to get pregnant or get someone else pregnant.
on December 14,2013 | 07:20AM
Denominator wrote:
That's quite scientific because Mississippi and New Hampshire are totally alike in all other ways.
on December 14,2013 | 07:51AM
Anonymous wrote:
It is more scientific than what you have presented.
on December 14,2013 | 08:55AM
Denominator wrote:
There are many things, including sex ed, that kids need to succeed in life. Too bad the schools aren't as enthusiastic in teaching all of them as they seem to be in sex ed. How about honesty, respect, responsibility and communications without using the word "like"?
on December 14,2013 | 07:26AM
eoe wrote:
I thought you righties were always preaching personal responsibility. Last time I checked the things you just listed are the parents responsibility.
on December 14,2013 | 09:24AM
bluebowl wrote:
I'm trying to figure out why is this program with the Disability Studies of UH. Is s e x education a disability?
on December 14,2013 | 08:01AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Valid question. I haven't seen anything that explains that reasoning either.
on December 14,2013 | 09:18AM
mitsuni wrote:
Why is the curriculum not available for review if it is such a great program. the secracy that surrounds the program makes it all the more questionable. If parents have the right to opt out or not opt ou shouldn't they be able to see the material before they can make an educated choice? DOE release the material for review so parents can decide and both skeptics and supporters know what they are talking about. I am skeptical simply because it is so hush hush!!!
on January 16,2014 | 02:20PM
mitsuni wrote:
I tend to agree that anal and oral sex discussions with 11-13 years olds in a classroom setting is not "pono". Reality is kids do talk about it, as we did when I was younger, that doesn't mean it should be curriculum that is taught as an accepted standard by someone who does or doesn't hold values inherent in my family and that are inconsistent with values of our home. Every home is allowed to establish values and standards in their home and with their family that are not dictated by the government..........at least that is how it used to be in America....not so sure anymore.
on January 16,2014 | 02:25PM
false wrote:
The DOE needs to concentrate on making our kids competent in Math, Reading and a Science before making them proficient in reproduction or experimenting in a homosexual lifestyle. There is absolutely zero evidence that people with a lack of education cannot figure out how to make babies!
on March 24,2014 | 08:17AM
Wpsinc wrote:
Ah! University of Hawaii, which now offers a degree in Pidgin English and other useless degrees with which one will be unable to get a real job. Isn't Governor Abercrombie enough of a horror story about anything coming out of UH?
on March 24,2014 | 08:22AM
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