Pono Choices sex education returns to middle schoolsUPDATED 6:52 PM HST Sep 04, 2014Video Transcript
kids, is once again being offered by the Department of Education. The return of Pono Choices comes after a two-month review by the Department of Education and U-H, along with a few changes. KITV4's Andrew Pereira joins us with the latest developments... Andrew? Yunji, Paula... the program will be back in participating schools by the second semester, but it's most vocal critic still doesn't think it's pono. 14-20 28-34 Direct, explicit and unabashedly bold ... Pono Choices was implemented in 17 public schools over the past two school years. But after complaints began to mount, the Department of Education pulled the program for an internal review. LEILA HAYASHIDA: "WE CONSIDERED THE OPINIONS OF PARENTS, COMMUNITY AGENCIES AND MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AND THEY GAVE US GREAT FEEDBACK." Rep. Bob McDermott led the fight against the controversial sex education program. REP. BOB MCDERMOTT: "THIS WHOLE PROGRAM CAME OUT OF OBAMA CARE AND THAT'S WHY IT TOOK ABOUT TWO YEARS TO WORK ITS WAY THROUGH THE PIPELINE. NOW WE'RE SEEING IT HERE YOU GO." Changes made to Pono Choices after a review by the DOE, the UH Manoa Center on Disability Studies and a "Stakeholder Review Panel" include the following: A revised definition of sex and the genital area. New emphasis on the dangers of unprotected anal sex. Elimination of confusing language about condom effectiveness. And additional changes to script and materials for parents to review. But McDermott believes Pono Choices is still NOT age appropriate and he questions the medical accuracy of the information that's provided. REP. BOB MCDERMOTT: "I CHALLENGE YOU TO FIND THE NAME OF THE DOCTOR WHO SAID IT'S MEDICALLY ACCURATE. GOOD LUCK BECAUSE WE COULDN'T FIND IT." The West Oahu lawmaker also objects to kids being given gift cards after their participation in the sex ed program. That's because Pono Choices is actually a research project through the UH Manoa Center on Disability Studies. LEILA HAYASHIDA: "THAT WAS PART OF THE INCENTIVE PROGRAM IN GETTING THE STUDENTS' RESPONSES. THAT WAS PART OF THEIR GRANT APPLICATION." McDermott says he's hit a road block after requesting how many gift cards were given away to students and the amounts. REP. BOB MCDERMOTT: "I'VE WRITTEN TO THE DOE TWICE ASKING WHAT THE AMOUNTS WERE. WE KNOW THAT IN PHILADELPHIA THE PROGRAM 'MAKING PROUD CHOICES' IT WAS $100 A STUDENT BACK IN '98. THEY WOULDN'T TELL ME. I FILLED A COMPLAINT WITH THE ETHICS COMMISSION AND THE ETHICS COMMISSION AS OF THIS AFTERNOON STILL DOESN'T KNOW." We requested information about those gift cards from U-H but have yet to hear back. The DOE says seven school principals have tentatively agreed to participate in Pono Choices, but we don't know which schools. Parents will to have to OPT IN before their kids can participate in the curriculum. Yunji?