HONOLULU (KITV4) -- Dozens gathered at the State Capitol Monday afternoon to protest House Bill 1697.
If passed, the bill would have educators be required to undergo comprehensive trainings on sex health topics, including that of the LGBTQ+ community, opponents claim it's an overstep in legislative boundaries.
"Parents aren't aware of this stuff," claimed rally organizer, Rep. Bob McDermott. "They're not aware of this social engineering. So yeah, I find this totally objectionable. And teachers don't want to do this. I don't care what their union boss says, they don't want to do this."
Proponents, however, say that Hawaii's current sex-education curriculum already includes that of same sex relationships.
"Sex education, LGBTQ+ representation, is already in the curriculum. All it's doing is making sure teachers have the proper training so that they feel comfortable teaching these topics," advocate Dean Hamer reasoned.
Supporters say this is especially important as data collected by a statewide survey indicates around 10% of Hawaii's upper level students identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
"There's a saying that if you go up to a mirror and look in it and you don't see anything, it's a very painful experience," Hamer continued. "The teaching at school should reflect the experience of the students."
Still, parents in opposition of the bill warn that if it does move forward, major repercussions are expected at the schools.
"I encourage parents [to] pull your kids out of these schools," said opponent Alice Abellandia. "Parents can decide for their children how they want to raise their kids. But that should be up to the parents, not to the schools, not to the teachers, not to the legislators."
House Bill 1697 is set to move forward to the Senate.