Kealakehe High to resume classes with heightened security, longer hours

Image source: Visionary Video
Image source: Visionary Video
Image source: Visionary Video
Image source: Visionary Video

KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - Classes at Kealaheke High School will resume on Monday, Dec. 10, with increased security on campus and extended instructional hours.

The Dept. of Education says eight students were arrested after at least three student fights in two days.  The extensive fighting prompted school officials to cancel on-campus activities and send students home, in increments, 45 minutes early on Thursday.

That same evening, school officials decided to cancel all classes Friday.

The school had been on temporary lockdown following the first fights on Wednesday.

School officials say the root of the arguments between involved students is a misunderstanding between local, Micronesian and Marshallese cultures and lifestyles.

"This misunderstanding of cultural assimilation by Marshallese and Micronesian families is not isolated to Kealakehe High School," said Arthur Souza, Complex Area Superintendent.  "This is a community issue that we are addressing."

Souza noted that he has been in discussions with lawmakers and local agencies about the topic of cultural assimilation and the misunderstandings that exist in the Kona community.

The Dept. of Education has temporarily assigned four additional security personnel to Kealakehe H.S. campus.

"We want to thank the Hawaii Police Department and the Kealakehe High School faculty for their actions in ensuring a safe environment for students," said Kathryn Matayoshi, Schools Superintendent.  "What could have been an explosive situation was contained, and community issues that have played a role in the recent disruptions are being addressed."

Monday's class schedule at Kealakehe High School will be modified to accommodate Friday's loss of instruction time. Aside from additional security, the school will also have counselors on hand to address harassment and bullying.

The students who were arrested have all been released from police custody, but face disciplinary actions that for some, may include suspension, officials say.

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