By Wendy Osher
The House Committee on Education will hear a bill tomorrow that seeks to incorporate comprehensive sex education into Hawaii’s public school curriculum.
House Bill 399 would require the Department of Education to provide certain types of information to the public and to parents, and allows parents to opt out of the DOE’s sexuality health education for their children.
“We are currently spending $22 million a year on unplanned teen pregnancies,” said Vice Speaker John Mizuno, who introduced the measure.
Rep. Mizuno cited information contained in a 2010 study that ranked Hawai’i number 17 in the nation for teen pregnancy rates.
“While the amount of taxpayer dollars that goes towards dealing with these pregnancies is staggering, it is dwarfed by the societal cost of not being able to provide these children with stable family foundations. Comprehensive sex education will equip our young people with the knowledge and tools necessary to be conscious of their decisions when it comes to sex,” said Rep. Mizuno.
Under the bill, sexuality health education would be implemented as part of the curriculum for public elementary, middle, intermediate, high, and alternative school operated by the Department of Education beginning in the 2014-2015 school year.
The hearing begins at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, at the Hawaii State Capitol, Room 309.
Members of the Committee on Education include: Chair Roy Takumi, Vice Chair Takashi Ohno, and members Reps. Henry Aquino, Isaac Choy, Faye Hanohano, Linda Ichiyama, Mark Nakashima, K. Mark Takai, Lauren Cheape, and Richard Fale.