Parent's consent still needed for sex ed

Parent's consent still needed for sex ed

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)

The House Health Committee crossed out a controversial requirement in a sex education bill. Language in HB 459 would have mandated parents to opt their public school kids out of taking sex ed classes. Instead it will remain opt in.

"An opt in policy is essentially a program that requires a permission slip of sorts," Planned Parenthood of Hawaii's Laurie Temple Field said.

She said those permission slips can get lost, so under opt in fewer public school students will learn about abstinence, birth control and disease prevention.

"Currently, there is no established program," she said. "Some kids get great sex ed. Other kids don't receive any at all."

Supporters of the opt in method believe it keeps parents on top of the sexuality health teaching their child receives.

"It'll be available. But in order for a student to attend the curriculum, the parents have to agree to it," said Steven Melendrez, whose son attends Mililani Middle School.

"We want to encourage parents to always be the ones that are responsible for what their kids are learning in the public school system," Hawaii Family Forum's Eva Andrade said.

"An opt in does put more onus on the parents to be asking the questions about what is the curriculum when it comes to that sensitive area of education" Health Committee Chair Rep. Della Au Belatti said.

Principals choose which sex education program will be used on their campus. For at least the next year, students will still need parental consent to take the class.

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