Increased security now the norm at McKinley High School - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Increased security now the norm at McKinley High School

Warner Pukini Warner Pukini
John Hammond John Hammond

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Its been ten years since the Columbine massacre. The tragedy changed school security across the country and here in Hawaii. But rather than lock things down, some island schools have stepped up surveillance by staff and students.

"What are you here for?" asks McKinley High School safety officer, Warner Pukini, to a young man in his car on campus.

Pukini spends his day walking around campus and watching.

"I spend a lot of time observing, looking for something that is unusual," added Pukini.

After Columbine, his position was added to the staff, which now includes five other security officers.

There have also been other measures taken to keep kids safe.

"A lot of things have changed, the biggest is the overall awareness of everybody at the school," said McKinley Vice Principal, John Hammond.

Along with the stepped up security measures around the campus, the school has also added mental health professional to reach students before there is a problem.

"They're very quick to help respond to kids in crisis, if the students feel suicidal or anger," said Hammond.

Staff at Mckinley High have even taken part in training exercises, along with Honolulu police. Practicing what they would do - in a Columbine-like attack at the school.

There are no metal detectors at McKinley, but a little plastic helps to keep students safe.

Everyone is required to wear ID badges, those who don't, are quickly stopped.

"You cannot come thru here during school hours, all visitors they must get a pass," said Pukini to a man walking through the campus.

Stepped up surveillance, not just by staff, but also the students themselves. Who want to learn in a safe and comfortable setting.

"We have students willing to tell us and report things that aren't right," said Hammond.

In addition to training by staff and teachers, all students are drilled in emergency procedures at the start of every school year. They also receive handbooks, outlining security and safety rules.

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