Twenty Schools Implement Controversial Pono Choices
by Noelani Bonifacio, Senate Minority Blog, January 17, 2014
Pono Choices, a controversial sexual education program in the State of Hawaii, has been implemented in twenty schools statewide, including Niu Valley Middle, and is expected to be implemented in all middle schools statewide, by School Year 2014-2015.
After reviewing the material I believe the material is inappropriate for the target audience (ages 11–13), and in other cases, any educational environment. Pono Choices, while claiming ‘abstinence,’ gently pushes — in some cases shoves — children towards sexual activity. Pono Choices describes situations where an ‘abstinent’ teen girl is on the pill. It also includes teens discussing living together or being sexually active after a few weeks of dating, homosexual relationships, and condom demonstrations (described as a ‘critical health skill’). Children are informed where they can receive free condoms and that there is no age requirement to obtain them.
The most egregious of the material included in Pono Choices is a video entitled “You Cannot Get HIV Ladatt!” in which Augie T. is operating a condom wagon.
Pono Choices offers little to no information on sexual harassment, Sexually Transmitted Infections, their symptoms and consequences or single parenthood. If the Department of Education and UH Center for Disability Studies stands so strongly behind Pono Choices, they should implement an ‘opt-in’ policy, as opposed to an ‘opt-out’ policy when it comes to their sex-education program, while making the entire curriculum readily available for review.