Lawmakers: DOE Refusing to Hand Over 'Pono Choices' Sex-Ed Materials

Alia Wong/Civil Beat

Republican Rep. Bob McDermott and Sen. Sam Slom are slamming the Hawaii Department of Education and University of Hawaii for what they’re describing as a deliberate effort to stonewall them in their recent attempts to access all materials in the “Pono Choices” sexual education pilot program.

The lawmakers held a press conference Wednesday, accusing Hawaii’s public education agency of denying them access to taxpayer-funded materials that they suspect promote gay relationships and sex. Both Slom and McDermott vehemently oppose gay marriage and argued against it during the recent special legislative session that ended with Hawaii becoming the 15th state to allow same-sex marriage.

But DOE officials say initial in-person training is required for everyone interested in reviewing or teaching the content. McDermott and Slom are refusing to do that.

Speaking at a podium in the Capitol rotunda, McDermott displayed a blown-up image of what he said was an exercise from the Pono Choices workbook bearing a child’s handwriting. The student was presumably asked to define different kinds of sex, and wrote graphic descriptions.

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