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Moanalua parents say sixth-graders exposed to a talk on rape, abortion


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POSTED: Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A guidance counselor at Moanalua Elementary School who was supposed to discuss bullying with sixth-graders instead gave them a graphic description of late-term abortion and talked about rape, pedophilia and anal sex, some parents say.

Kirsten Kajiwara said the session upset her 11-year-old son. “;When I picked him up from school, he was very distraught,”; she said. “;It was first, 'Why do people cut babies' arms and legs off and suck their brains out?' It got worse, talking about pedophiles flying to other countries and raping children. It was just horrible, horrible, horrible.”;

Lori Shimoda, president of the Parent Teacher Organization at the school, said the lectures took place on Nov. 10, and parents who heard about it immediately complained to the principal and asked that other sixth-grade parents be notified so they could talk to their children and help them deal with it.

“;The response was, 'If parents are concerned they can come to us,'”; Shimoda said. “;But the parents aren't going to know if their children don't tell them. And some children may not come forward because they think they're supposed to learn this. We're really upset. It's been three weeks, and the administration has not notified the parents.”;

Moanalua Principal Denise Arai said an investigation is under way, and “;we are following our proper procedures.”; The Star-Bulletin called the counselor at home yesterday, but she said she had been advised not to comment because the matter is being investigated.

The school's other counselor, a man who usually works with the younger students, is available for sixth-graders who want to talk about what happened, Arai said.

Shimoda said she has been contacted by seven parents whose children were upset, including students in each of Moanalua's four sixth-grade classes. She and Kajiwara said they are concerned that parents were kept in the dark while the counselor who faced the accusations continued working with children.

“;She was completely protected while the kids weren't,”; Kajiwara said. “;We felt we were playing by the rules. We would share the information immediately, and the school would follow up immediately and take it seriously, and they dropped the ball completely.”;

“;What is so frustrating is that we don't know what to do,”; she said. “;They're not letting us know anything.”;

Teri Ushijima, complex-area superintendent for the Aiea, Moanalua and Radford complexes, told the Star-Bulletin yesterday that the guidance counselor has been placed on department-directed leave.

“;The safety and well-being of our students is crucial,”; she said. “;It's a very high priority. Given the nature of the allegations, we take this very seriously.”; She added that if Moanalua parents have concerns, they can call her at 627-7481.

Department spokeswoman Sandy Goya said that if parents are not satisfied with the response of school administrators to problems on campus, they should contact their district office or call the communications office at 586-3232.

Shimoda said parents should be informed when things get out of hand in classrooms.

“;The school system should put measures in place so that if something like this happens, there's a clear protocol to notify the parents,”; she said. “;If a teacher went crazy, we should know what happened in school so we can talk to our children.”;

Shimoda and Kajiwara said they support appropriate sex education. Last year, when Moanalua's fifth-graders had a unit on that subject, parents were informed ahead of time of the topics and given consent forms. But the Nov. 10 lectures were a far cry from that.

“;She was supposed to be teaching a lesson on bullying,”; Shimoda said. “;She — for whatever reason — diverged and started teaching the children about rape, prostitution, pornography, described anal and oral sex, and then she talked about late-term abortion, sucking out the babies and crushing them, and said President (Barack) Obama believes that it is OK,”; Shimoda said.

Added Kajiwara, “;The children were traumatized by the whole thing. It brought up a terrible situation with us. I had to discuss things with my child I knew he was not prepared for.”;

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Moanalua parents plan to meet on Friday. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).