Hawaii Reacts to Mainland School Shootings

Jesse Maganis
Jesse Maganis
Greg Knudsen
Greg Knudsen
Song Daugherty
Song Daugherty

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Hawai'i public schools are quiet, empty because students have the week off. But empty playgrounds and hallways could be the scene if a gunman prompted the school to go into lock-down mode.

The recent school shootings on the mainland rattled some kids.

"Kind of scared because you never know if that's going to happen to the school where I go to or not," said Nicole Daugherty, a high school student.

Others say things like that cannot happen in Hawai'i.

"Some people, like, they don't do things like that over here," said Jesse Maganis, an elementary school student.

Hawai'i schools have not experienced any incidents where gunmen have shot and killed people on campus. But each school has a crisis management plan should such a situation occur.

In August, a private school in Kahala went into lockdown as police searched for three robbery suspects.

"There are provisions for lockdown or making sure the students stay in place if any kind of threat does make itself evident on a campus," said Greg Knudsen, communications director for the Hawai'i Board of Education.

Knudsen said while there are contingency plans in place, it is impossible to eliminate all possible threats.

"None of our schools are really impenetrable; they are basically open," he said. "For the most part, that's good because we don't want our schools to feel like they're prisons for our students. The learning environment should be open and free."

Still, the recent shootings on the mainland have reverberated all the way out to Hawai'i.

"Everyone has a consciousness and a commitment to student safety, but on cases when they're totally random, there is an underlying fear that some of that simply cannot be prevented," said Knudsen.

Some parents say their faith help them cope.

"You just have to trust in God and believe that it's going to work out because you can't protect them from anywhere anymore," said Song Daugherty, a concerned mother.

These recent tragedies have students and parents thinking about more than just school work.

The Board of Education said the Honolulu Police Department keeps them in the loop about any situations in the area. If the police are chasing a robbery suspect, for example, they would notify the school which would prompt the campus to go into lockdown until the suspect is caught.