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Department of Education Puts Controversial Sex Education Program on Hold

The Hawaii State Department of Education will place its sex education program, Pono Choices, on hold after the completion of the 2013 Fall semester to conduct a review of the pilot curriculum.

The DOE calls the program a “medically accurate” program that informs teens about pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases and gives students greater knowledge of the risks associated with unsafe sexual behaviors and be more likely to report safe sex practices, including abstinence.

However, many parents of the 11-to 13-year olds who have been taught the curriculum, said they have found its content offensive, graphic and inappropriate for their kids.

Hawaii News Now reports parents were concerned their children in sixth, seventh and eighth grade, were learning to put condoms on dildos and about performing oral sex, vaginal sex, and anal sex.

Leila Hayashida, DOE’s Assistant Superintendent for the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support said, “Recent concerns over the department’s sexual education curriculum have resulted in misstatements and misunderstandings about the learning that takes place in the classroom. Pono Choices is a pilot curriculum and is one of seven DOE approved curricula for schools to use for sexual health education. We recently asked the CDS to address public concerns about the curriculum’s descriptions of healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships.”

However, following the 2013 fall semester, Pono Choices curriculum implementation will be placed on hold while the CDS addresses concerns and the DOE completes another review process.

The 9.5-hour course, developed at the University of Hawaii's Center on Disability Studies and funded by the federal Office of Adolescent Health, has already been taught to 1,700 middle school students in the public school system in 34 Hawaii public and public charter schools participating in a randomized controlled trial.

The DOE said in a statement that alll DOE approved Sex Education courses are in compliance with the Board of Education’s abstinence-based sex education policy and for any course or lesson that is considered “controversial,” parents have the option of opting-out their child.

A study to determined the impact of the course, which began in 2011, was scheduled to run until 2015.

Teachers have been trained by the developers to implement the curriculum.

"We look forward to the review process as this will provide us with the opportunity to address any concerns the department may have with the curriculum” said Kelly Roberts, Ph.D., principal investigator for Pono Choices. “Our goal is to have a positive impact, reducing teen pregnancy and preventing STIs, through the use of medically accurate and evidence-based curricula. We appreciate the parents who attended our informational sessions and provided valuable feedback while obtaining answers to their questions regarding the curriculum.”

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3 Comments for “Department of Education Puts Controversial Sex Education Program on Hold”

  1. Pono choices should be reviewed, as beastiality is legal here too. Soon what happened in NC will happen here.
    _A North Carolina man was arrested Thursday November 21 for allegedly having sex with his family dog. In an even more disturbing twist, the act was performed in front of a minor child. David Lee Carter, 25 of Benson, N.C. was arrested for these crimes and ABC11 reported the arrest on Thursday stating, "Carter is charged with indecent liberties because he allegedly had sex with the dog in front of a child

  2. Pono choices,
    the result of Democrat Bill Clinton (Hillary's husband) when he signed DOMA in 96, & brought federal involvement into "marriages"
    And B.Obama only stated he will not defend it, but it still lives,

  3. obvious reasons anon

    Yes, sex is a part of life, and yes that is the perfect age for the curriculum. Example, I was 13 (an wasn't developed enough to even own a training bra) when iI was raped by a 19 year old that picked me up on my way home from school because he had heard i had a crush on him. His family was well-respected in our small town and he was in the final weeks as a senior at the high school I wasn't old yet enough to attend.

    It was graphic and traumatic, but i didn't have any idea it was rape when it was someone you liked. I thought for years it was my fault and that I made him do it for choosing to get in his car. After he "broke up" with me after abusing my tiny body all summer long - making me do increasingly degrading things I didn't' even know existed,. Because he had sex with me regularly I thought he loved me and I called him my boyfriend and tried as hard as I could to like sex and to follow his orders and forced sex acts so he would continue liking me. He never told anyone I was his girlfriend. But he did tell his friends that I was a slut. He raped me dozens of times before summer ended.

    Needless to say, I started my 9th grade year labeled a slut before i even entered the hgh school doors on the first day. It spread around the school quickly and i was harassed and bullies and beat up daily. I made it through the year but quit school just a few weeks into my sophomore year.

    Someone should have told me, someone should have protected me. I learned a couple years ago that he was serving quite a prison sentence for raping 2 pre-pubescent girls over very long periods of time.

    It hit me hard and I wound up suicidal as I felt that I could have protected those girls if I had known that forced sex repeatedly inflicted didn't' make me someones girlfriend nor did it mean they loved me. I was in therapy for years afterwards and diagnosed with depression and PTSD. The guilt I felt feeling that I could have saved those girls if I had been told I didn't' have to date my rapist was debilitating. I realize now I was a kid, and it wasn't' my fault. But I carried the weight of those rapes with me through out my life and even occasionally still the night terrors that began the year i quit school. In my 42 year old head the monsters that kill me and my child have his 19 year old face.

    If you don't keep up on the news about child sexuality, you might not know that over a decade ago rainbow parties that involved tween girls putting on different shades of lipstick and win the game if their color is the one closest to the base of a random tween boy's penis. Also my younger sister told me that girls in her class as early as age 11 began having anal sex and oral sex with boys because they were still considered a virgin and couldn't get pregnant by doing so. My sister is 35 years old.

    Any questions as to what a kid that age should be taught to avoid being ignorant, or more appropriately, naive and out of touch with the reality and truth about sex? This is an amazing sex ed course and youth of Hawaii are lucky to have it.. I remember this one thing about sex ed from school. A blue condom on a banana. And to think how well that has served me throughout my life...

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