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Saturday, June 4, 2005



School video preaches
tolerance

WAILUKU » About 28 percent of the 1,060 eligible students at King Kekaulike High School on Maui saw a video yesterday encouraging tolerant behavior toward homosexuals.

School officials had planned to show the video to all ninth-, 10th- and 11th-graders, but after some parents and residents objected, they decided to require written parental permission to see the video.

Principal Susan Scofield said she felt attendance was good -- about 300 students -- considering the video was not a part of a grade for a course and required written parental permission.

"It showed interest in allowing students to view for themselves so that students can grow and give their opinions about it," she said.

About 760 students did not return permission forms.

A couple of students who saw the video said it held their interest and did a good job in looking at homosexuality.

"I thought it addressed the question well," said Brian Ujiie, 17, a junior. "It wasn't as some people said trying to promote it."

Melody Sagario, 14, a freshman and student body president, said she felt the video was "just promoting tolerance and that gay people are just like us and they shouldn't be treated differently."

Sagario said she thought the video did a good job in giving various perspectives and did not seem like it was promoting homosexuality as being biological, as voiced by some critics.

Scofield said the students might have different opinions about the video, called "It's Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues," but the intent of showing it was to foster tolerance and respect.

Students viewed the video in the cafeteria during one showing, as part of an advisory class where they receive counseling.

Kenneth Nomura, the Central Maui area complex superintendent, said the video was shown because there were cases of harassment.

A gay student left King Kekaulike after being beaten, and another has said he does not plan to return to the school for his senior year.

"If we look at it as being anti-harassment and pro-tolerance, then it's not a controversial issue, but people are making it a controversial issue," Nomura said.

The Rev. Dale Kreps, who objected to showing the video without presenting opposing views of homosexuality, said he had no problem showing the video, but felt that education officials might have been misguided.

Kreps said he has heard that the school had not done a good job at encouraging tolerance in general, and officials should not just focus on anti-homosexual behavior.

He said "It's Elementary" also portrays homosexuality as natural and biological, and that the school should also show the video "I Do Exist," which presents homosexuality as a lifestyle choice.

Kreps said a main character in "It's Elementary" appears in the "I Do Exist" video and discusses how he made a mistake and thought he was gay but realized he was heterosexual.



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