DOE officials say public schools safe despite Kalani High stabbing

DOE officials say public schools safe despite Kalani High stabbing
Randolph Moore
Randolph Moore

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - State Department of Education officials say staff members at Kalani High School reacted to Tuesday's stabbing on campus the way they were trained to. They say they don't recall a stabbing ever happening on a campus during school hours before.

The 16-year-old victim continues to recover from his injuries at the hospital.

A stabbing inside a classroom. A bloody scene. Department of Education officials say Kalani High's response to the unexpected violence was textbook.

"If we had known exactly what was going to happen and had written out, here school folks, here's what you need to do, we wouldn't have done better than what they did," Randolph Moore, assistant schools superintendent, said. "I think it's a testament to the training they have had."

Police arrested a 17-year-old boy after he allegedly stabbed his 16-year-old teammate from the swim team multiple times. Fellow students say the dispute was over a girl.

DOE officials say staff members at Hawaii's public schools receive training on how to deal with a wide range of crises.

"Natural disasters, hurricane, flood, tsunami, how do you get ready for those," Moore said. "It can include violence. A stabbing is just very, very unusual."

Last year, the state received a federal grant to improve emergency readiness at public and private schools. Moore says staff training ranges from "Are electrical outlets properly grounded?" to "What do you do if someone shows up on campus with a gun?"

"School safety is not only a moral obligation to the students but, educationally, students don't do well if they don't feel safe," he said.

While some mainland schools screen students when they arrive, the open layout of campuses in Hawaii is not conducive to that.

"Most of the mainland schools where you have to walk through a metal detector in order to get there have only one entrance to the building," Moore said. "Our schools were not designed to look or act like institutional confinement."

Besides, he says, the issue of student screening is complex.

"Does that really make a school safer or do you establish a climate of mistrust and so on and so forth," Moore said. "So there's a philosophical part to it as well as the physical safety part."

As for the suspect in Tuesday's stabbing, police and prosecutors can not comment on his status because he's a juvenile.

Generally speaking, Family Court -- where proceedings are kept confidential -- could waive jurisdiction to adult court. But that process can take several weeks to several months.

More about this story on

Stabbing at Kalani High School, student arrested

Kalani High School stabbing allegedly over a girl

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.