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Middle school kids in Hawaii get gift cards for participating in sex-ed program

The federal government is using taxpayer dollars to encourage middle school students to participate in a controversial sex education program, Watchdog.org reports.

According to Watchdog.org, $52,200 of a $5 million U.S. Office of Adolescent Health grant were used to buy $10 and $20 gift cards, which were used as incentives to get students to participate in a survey providing feedback on Pono Choices. Pono Choices, a curriculum developed by the University of Hawaii Center on Disability Studies, has come under fire from some parents and lawmakers who believe the course's inclusion of information about anal and homosexual sex is inappropriate.

"Student opinion is the most powerful measure in the effectiveness of the program and we support the efforts in seeking such feedback," said Donalyn Dela Cruz, a spokeswoman for the Hawaii State Department of Education.

Hawaii Rep. Bob McDermott (R), however, is firmly against the program, accusing the Department of Education of "normalizing homosexual lifestyles" and "putting students at risk by withholding critical facts."