DOE seeks public input on new rules on bullying and harassment at Hawaii schools

New proposals come on the heels of a recent survey on bullying.

DOE seeks public input on new rules on bullying and harassment at Hawaii schools
The DOE wants to hear from the public to help them craft new rules on bullying and harassment at public schools. (Source: Hawaii News Now/file)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Education would like your help crafting new rules for bullying and sexual harassment at public schools across Hawaii.

Over the next several weeks, DOE officials will be hosting public hearings at locations on four islands to gather community feedback on the proposed changes.

Last month, the Hawaii State Board of Education approved for public review updates for the DOE proposals to strengthen the student misconduct and discipline code — known to students as Chapter 19. Among the key changes is elevating bullying and cyberbullying to a Class A offense, the most serious category for disciplinary action.

Officials also want to add a new section titled Chapter 89 Civil Rights Policy and Complaint Procedures for Student(s) Complaints against Adult(s).

These proposals come on the heels of the release of a Hawaii School Health Survey in which more than 16,000 public middle and high school students participated that found fewer teens say they have been bullied at school over the last two years.

Results also show fewer students reported being cyberbullied or cyberbullying someone else.

The anonymous survey, which is administered every other year, monitors categories of health-risk behaviors including mental health, injuries and violence, sexual behaviors, alcohol and drug use and physical activity.

Two different surveys are given: one to middle-schoolers and one to high school students as part of a joint project of the DOE, the Hawaii Department of Health and the University of Hawaii.

If you’d like to participate, head to one of the following sessions:

Nov. 13, 5-7 p.m. / Maui Community School for Adults Annex / 179 W. Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului

Nov. 14, 5-7 p.m. / Hilo High School, Room C-127 / 556 Waianuenue Ave., Hilo

Nov. 15, 5-7 p.m. / Aiea High School Cafeteria, 98-1276 Ulune St.

Nov. 16, 5-7 p.m. / Waipahu Intermediate School Library / 94-455 Farrington Highway

Nov. 29 / Kealakehe High School cafeteria / 74-5000 Puohulihuli St., Kailua-Kona

Dec. 5, 5-6:30 p.m. / Lanai High and Elementary School / 555 Fraser Ave., Lanai City

Dec. 10, 4-5:30 p.m. / Hana High & Elementary School / 4111 Hana Highway, Hana

The DOE already held its session on Kauai, but feedback is still welcome.

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