The latest concern for Lahaina’s displaced children: Bullying at their new Maui campuses

Concerns about bullying were brought up at last week's meeting with Department of Education officials and parents in Kahana.
Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 7:42 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 7, 2023 at 2:04 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KAHULUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thousands of West Maui schoolchildren are displaced following the Lahaina wildfire, and many are finding the transition to new campuses a rocky one.

The grandmother of one teen survivor who lost everything in the Lahaina fire says on top of everything, her grandson is now being bullied at Maui High.

“It was said that, ‘You’re homeless and you have nowhere to go,’ and they called him a traitor,” said Gerilyn Arcangel. Her grandson, Xavier, just turned 16 and was a junior year at Lahainaluna High.

Free bus service to start for Lahaina students needing to get to temporary schools

“He didn’t want to be enrolled in Maui High,” Gerilyn said.

“Xavier actually attended Maui High School during his freshman year. He moved to Lahaina as a sophomore and was in the marching band at Lahainaluna High School.”

She says they were hoping there would be a better solution for Lahainaluna students instead of having to transfer schools.

Special Section: Maui Wildfires Disaster

Arcangel believes it’s not only Xavier being bullied, and adds she believes other students are afraid to speak out because of fear of retaliation.

She emailed the school last Monday, informing them about the situation.

In the email, she wrote: “These Lahainaluna students don’t deserve these rude remarks. In fact, no student should have to be bullied or be called names regardless of where they are from.”

She says she hasn’t received a response yet.

“If they held an assembly and addressed the whole school at one time. I think it would have had more effect to the students,” she said.

Concerns about bullying were also brought up at a meeting with state Department of Education officials and parents in Kahana last week.

Schools Superintendent Keith Hayashi told the crowd it would not be tolerated.

Arcangel is also now calling on the entire community to do better.

“The parents, teachers, everybody needs to know what these kids are going through, and it’s very, very hurtful for these kids,” she said.

A spokesperson for the state Department of Education told HNN, “Without knowing the specifics of the situation, generally speaking, bullying and harassment are not tolerated on any HIDOE campus.”

Officials are also reminding parents and guardians that instances of bullying should be reported to a trusted adult on campus for immediate investigation.

They can also be reported digitally and anonymously through the Department’s Speak Now app.