Draft Testimony against SB2179 available

Draft testimony in opposition to SB2179 (Decriminalization of drug use and drug trafficking) is available here.

For those new to this blog, draft testimony is offered for some legislation that is brought to the attention of the readers.  After talking with many people of faith, I found that they did not participate in the legislative process because:

  1. They could not keep track of all 1500 active bills,
  2. they did not have the time to write testimony, or
  3. they did not feel confident enough about their writing to submit testimony.

You are free to use the draft testimony available as you see fit.  If you would like to edit it or add your own words, please do so.

The most important thing is that you submit it.  Bear in mind that it must be submitted 24 hours before the scheduled start time of the hearing to be in the hands of committee members.  Testimony may be accepted after the 24 hour deadline, but there are no guarantees that it will be in the hands of committee members or even be accepted.

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Bait & Switch

HiDoEThe grand deception that the Board of Education (BoE) became part of during their Tuesday general meeting can be considered ‘deplorable’ at best.  Their actions demonstrate a lack of interest in building any sort of trust with the faith-based community.  What is increasingly clear is that local media outlets (like Honolulu Civil Beat, “HCB”) were part of this grand ruse in their failure to accurately report the agenda for the Tuesday meeting.

The consideration of sex education by the BoE caught critics of Pono Choices off-guard when both local media outlets and the Board itself failed to properly disclose that the “opt-out” policy was once again being considered.  The inaccuracies began when HCB reported:

The Department of Education (DoE) is now recommending a few modifications to the policy that may placate parental concerns, including changing the grades in which sex education is to be offered to grades 7 through 12, and requiring that parents have to sign their children up for the course.

Had HCB done their due diligence and actually looked at the documents they linked in their article, they would have noticed the glaring discrepancy in proposals put forth by the Board.  To date, HCB’s Jessica Terrell (jterrell@civilbeat.com) has offered no apology, retraction or correction for the glaring inaccuracies in her earlier reporting.

The discrepancy (reported in a previous post) was between a memo provided to Board chair Don Horner and exhibits provided by the Board.  While the memo addressed formalizing a policy of “opt-in”:

“A student shall be provided with sexual health instruction only if the student’s parent or legal guardian provides prior consent.  A student’s parent or legal guardian may consent to sexual health instruction at any time. …”

Exhibit A, outlining the proposed changes to the Department of Education’s sex education policy, presented to supplement the meeting agenda provided a contradictory message:

“A student shall be excused from sexual health instruction only upon the prior written request of the student’s parent or legal guardian.  A student may not be subject to disciplinary action, academic penalty or other sanction if the student’s parent or legal guardian makes such written request.”

Board members in a 5-1 vote [1], failed to address the fundamental question that is at the core of the entire debate around sex education – trust.  Parents do not trust the Department of Education or the Board of Education to vet and select a medically-accurate sexual health curriculum.  These very same entities were asleep at the wheel when they allowed Pono Choices to be taught in the schools.  Confoundingly, their solution to the sexual education curriculum is once again “trust us”.  Parents who were betrayed by Pono Choices must once again trust a Board of Education and Department of Education that got themselves into this mess to begin with.  They won’t.

Interestingly, Exhibit A was stripped almost verbatim from a proposal that the Legislature previously considered [2].  In a rare moment of wisdom, the Legislature tabled HB459 in favor of a wait-and-see approach to the “opt-in” policy announced just months prior by the Board of Education.  Perhaps the Legislature knew something the Board didn’t after holding four different hearings on the matter.  Or perhaps social engineering advocates sought to get from the Board of Education what they could not get from the Legislature.

Until the Board of Education recognizes this fundamental issue, they will only perpetuate the very problem that they are trying to look past – angry parents who do not TRUST the BoE/DoE.  On Tuesday, they doubled-down on deceit and provided yet another reason for these parents not to trust educational experts.

The victory that the BoE needed on Tuesday was for these parents to “opt-in” to any sex education program, but the deceit and duplicity that the Board demonstrated ensures that more than ever these parents will “opt-out”.


Blogger’s Note: In no way should this post be interpreted as criticism of sex education in public schools, but is only a critique of the ignorance demonstrated by the Board of Education.  It is this blog’s position that an age-appropriate, medically-accurate, abstinence-based sexual education curriculum must be offered to any child that does not already receive age-appropriate, medically-accurate, abstinence-based sexual education superior education from another source (parent, guardian, etc.).

[1] Board chairman Don Horner was the lone ‘no’ vote.

[2] HB459 HD2

Confusion

Soon after the Board of Education announced a meeting to revisit the issue of the sexual health curriculum, it appears that liberals and progressives are trying to pull a fast one to try to undo the Board of Education’s previous “opt-in” policy.

Blogger’s Note: For those interested, information regarding the Board of Education meeting was first derived from Honolulu Civil Beat (HCB).  Had HCB done their due diligence, they would have recognized the discrepancy in the meeting memo and exhibits that they had linked in their news stub.  For those interested in attending the meeting, it is being held on Tuesday, June 16 at 1:30 p.m. In Room 404 of the Queen Liliuokalani Building (1390 Miller Street).  The meeting notice can be found on the Board of Education website.

The two documents in questions regarding the meeting can be found here (meeting exhibits) and here (memo regarding sexual education curriculum).  The Board of Education has previously indicated their wish to keep the opt-in policy for sexual education curriculum.  This was echoed in a memo to board chair Don Horner proposing a policy where:

“…A student shall be provided with sexual health instruction only if the student’s parent or legal guardian provides prior consent. …”

While these changes, referred to as policy 103.5 are consistent with what many of the faith-based community are advocating for, it is directly contradicted by exhibits offered as a supplement.  The exhibit version of the proposed policy 103.5 states:

“A student shall be excused from sexual health instruction only upon the prior written request of the student’s parent or legal guardian. …”

The discrepancy between the two documents creates an open door to flip to the dreaded “opt-out” policy.  Whether the discrepancy was intentional, it poses a grave risk to the work of community members and like-minded legislators who sought to protect parents and families by compromising to a policy of “opt-in”.  While it would be reasonable for parents to believe that this fight is over, that does not seem to be like the reality.

With the confusion shrouding tomorrow’s Board of Education meeting, parents must once again show up to the meeting to defend against aggressively liberal sex education programs like Pono Choices.  It is not clear, based on available documentation, whether the Board of Education is considering the “opt-in” or “opt-out” for sex education curriculum.


Blogger’s note: This post was written with some urgency as to get the word out.  Please pardon any grammatical or other minor errors until the original post can be revisited.