STATEMENT FROM SEN. KAHELE ON SENATE BILL 2323
In an effort to protect abused children, Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele (Dist. 1- Hilo) had worked with the Hawai‘i County Prosecutors office to introduce Senate Bill 2323 that would have established procedures for a parent or legal guardian to obtain authorization to home school a child. However, understanding the strong concerns about the measure, Sen. Kahele requested the bill be withdrawn during the joint hearing of the Senate Committees on Education and Human Services. In his request, he offered this explanation:
“Senate Bill 2323 was never meant to not allow loving, caring, families from homeschooling your child and from infringing on your constitutionally protected rights. It was meant to protect children that live unimaginable lives, and are abused, neglected at the hands of the very parents and guardians that should be nurturing them and forgotten by a system that should be protecting them.
Today is Valentine’s Day and many of us will get to share this special day with our loved ones. But that is not the case for Peter Boy Kema, Shaelyn Lehano Stone and many other children across Hawai‘i and America, who do not have a voice and live their lives in fear.
This is a conversation we need to have. It is a conversation we need to have in other States throughout our country and it is a conversation we need to have here in Hawai‘i.
Due to the overwhelming testimony in opposition and the overwhelming turnout today at the Capitol, as the introducer of the bill, your voices have been heard by me and my colleagues and I would like to request that this bill be withdrawn and deferred.
In the interim, I am committed to work in collaboration with stakeholders, the Home School Network, Department of Education and other agencies to address this issue and return next Session with a bill that protects all keiki of Hawai‘i.”
The Senate Committees on Education and Human Services deferred action on SB2323.