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Hawaii lawmaker renews fight to end or revise controversial sex ed program

INAPPROPRIATE? Bob McDermott doesn’t want his 11-year-old son exposed to Hawaii DOE’S sex education curriculum.

BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN - HONOLULU — State Rep. Bob McDermott, who enrolled his eight children in Hawaii’s public schools, doesn’t want his 11-year-old son exposed to a controversial taxpayer-funded sex education program.

That program is taught in 12 public schools across the state, and the Hawaii Department of Education is planning to expand the curriculum to others.

That’s spurred McDermott to renew his fight to get the program revised or pulled altogether. He’s releasing a 21-page report Monday entitled The Pono Choices Curriculum: Sexualizing the Innocent detailing his concerns. He also plans to make a plea to the Hawaii Board of Education at its Tuesday meeting, and hold a legislative briefing Wednesday evening for parents.

The 10-hour program, called Pono Choices (pono is a Hawaiian word that translates to “the right way”), is designed for youth aged 11 to 13. It has been taught to 1,700 Hawaii middle school children through an $800,000 pilot program.

McDermott said the program is “medically inaccurate” and not biology based, and that it teaches children about topics such as anal sex, sex with multiple partners and how to put on a condom — using a cucumber or wooden replica of a penis.

“The program normalizes a homosexual lifestyle and anal sex, while failing to warn students of the extreme dangers of anal sex; it references multiple sex partners, while failing to inform students about the health benefits of monogamy; it fails to warn students about the ineffectiveness of condoms against HPV, herpes, and anal sex; and fails to educate students on the stages of human reproduction,” McDermott said, providing Hawaii Reporter with an early copy of his report.

“Any talk of anal sex — which the curriculum does frequently — is instinctively repulsive for pre-pubescent children. Additionally, calling the anus a genital — as Pono Choices does — is just plain medically wrong,” McDermott said.

Among his other arguments: the curriculum’s definition of oral sex isn’t consistent with the definition commonly found in medical literature, data on condom use and effectiveness is inaccurate with regard to HPV, herpes, and HIV and the curriculum ignores the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s warning regarding the risks of condom use when engaging in anal sex.

NOT THE THREE R’S: McDermott holds up a copy of notes from an 11-year-old student enrolled in the sex education classes in the state’s public schools.

The DOE maintains the program is medically accurate, and points out parents can opt their children out of the program.

Parents are invited to a Pono Choices Parent Night through a letter that’s sent home with their child informing them their child will study teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection prevention as part of health education, the DOE in a statement in mid-December. They also learn how to use a condom as part of the program.

“For any curriculum or lesson that addresses reproductive health, parents have the option of requesting that their child not receive the instruction,” the DOE statement said.

However, McDermott said what parents are told — and students are taught — are very different.

“The parental opt-out forms are woefully inadequate. They lack clarity and transparency by concealing some controversial aspects of the material,” McDermott said.

In November, McDermott requested a copy of the curriculum, which was developed by the University of Hawaii. The DOE and university denied his request for several weeks.

McDermott said DOE spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz told him in an email that the course material wouldn’t be made public, but offered to have the lead researcher “address any questions.”

That researcher, Kelly Robert, told McDermott in a follow-up email: “We are not releasing the curriculum or associated materials to anyone who has not gone through the Pono Choices training.”

WHY ARE YOU SMILING? McDermott said happy faces are used to represent STIs partners can get from one another in the curriculum.

Once he obtained a copy and reviewed it with his staff attorney and others, McDermott felt the curriculum fails to inform children of the exponentially increased risks of male on male anal sex.

“Such omission renders the entire document questionable at best and agenda-driven social engineering at worst,” McDermott said.

The program is also contrary to state law and policies regarding abstinence-based sexual education, McDermott said.

“The curriculum treats sexual activity before the age of 14 as a viable choice, despite the state sexual assault law, which puts the age of consent at 16,” McDermott said.

The DOE maintained in a statement that abstinence is taught, but McDermott said “it is not the central message of the curriculum,” which he said gives a mixed message.

The DOE pulled the program in late November 2013 to review it after parents and some legislators complained, but reinstated the program after two weeks and announced its expansion to other schools.

MONTES: It’s time for the community to fight back


Others share McDermott’s concerns. Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai-Diamond Head, agrees that parts of the curriculum aren’t appropriate for middle school students.

Hawaii Republican Assembly, a local conservative organization, issued a statement Monday calling Pono Choices, “Porno Choices” and encouraged parents to attend both the BOE meeting  Tuesday and the legislative briefing Wednesday.

“It’s time to fight back,” said organization spokesman Tito Montes.

Reach Malia Zimmerman at Malia@hawaiireporter.com


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148 Comments for “Hawaii lawmaker renews fight to end or revise controversial sex ed program”

  1. We have between 5 and 10 percent gay men, and almost all (90+ percent) of kids are sexually active before 21, whether religiously educated or not. Should we let them find out about sex or not, before they indulge? Otherwise they could be like the nun who recently gave birth to a boy (named Francis!) who denied she was pregnant right up to the delivery.

    • Nice lies. 1-2% are homosexual. 55% are sexually active before 21. Your lies don't work

    • Your numbers are not accurate. Take a look at the US census for accurate demographic data

    • Big difference between 11 years old and 21! An 11 year old does not need to be taught sodomy by the public schools..

    • Just because 90-95% of the men you know are gay, and because you were gay active before you were probably 14, and that you are most likely an aetheist, You know how many std's you contracted or maybe not, doesn't mean everyone is like you. So why don't you stop your jizz infected brain from talking you trash and lies. Go back to your bathhouse or where ever you do your thing and shut the f up!!

    • LOL, jeeze, John, are you and people like you so weak and helpless that you can't even have sex without the government telling you how to? Can you not even teach your children about sex without the government holding your hand?

      Here's a thought: How about the kids learn about sex at home???? Brilliant, huh? Ya see, personally, I don't want my kids learning about sex from a government employee, and damned if I'm going to let that happen just because of people like you who have to have the government tell them when to poop. Grow a set, John, and try to be responsible for your kids and for your own damn self.

      Let the government raise your kids, John, but leave my kids alone...........

    • I am the parent, that's my job not yours or the state...Teach your children well ..Anal sex is sick...

  2. Well, we can thank the Department of Education, (actually, indoctrination), the NEA,"Common Core" and of course the liberal left for the fact that our school system is turning out undereducated, third world "deviants".

    • Who is responsible for OUR kids t/b third world "deviants"? What name can we associate to this immoral outrage?
      Those like Sen. Will Espero, along with Veronika Geronimo, Hawaii Coalition for Immigration Reform &
      several community groups, sponsor a law to allow immigrants to obtain driver’s license that would ensure eligible drivers pass a driving test and obtain insurance, despite their nationality or immigration status.
      Eleven other states have already passed similar legislation to EASE us to live with 3rd worlders.
      More at; http://khon2.com/2014/02/04/bill-to-allow-immigra...

  3. Well, at least they will have something they are trained for to do for all those long years of unemployment.

  4. As long as it is Protected Anal Sex..We don't want another OBama !!!!!

    • Please parents, protect your children. They can't and no one loves them more than you do. Do not let this sex ed class take place. It is not appropriate for you, let alone your child. Do not allow these people to teach your children anything you do not want them to. All the parents should not allow this. You alone are responsible for your children

  5. From Obama's birth (so he clalims) state. Just more liberal immorality being forced upon our children.

  6. Someone secretly record what's being taught and upload it to youtube.

  7. Simple, if Obamacare is going to work long term, we gotta teach the kids to bend over and take it

  8. This is simply indoctrination by the homosexual lobby. They say they want to keep it in the bedroom. But they really want to recruit as many children as possible.

  9. I used to live in Hawaii. I love it there. But I have children and cannot afford the private schools. I refused to raise my kids there because of the schools.

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