Our schools take a comprehensive and systemic approach to address bullying and harassment through improved data gathering and analysis, professional development and training, and the proactive involvement of community and students. Department leaders and school administrators routinely review bullying incidents in various Complex Areas to monitor trends, analyze best practices and respond accordingly.
School administrators receive training on research-proven tools and strategies for addressing social-emotional learning and improving school community climate. All schools provide:
- positive behavioral interventions and supports,
- an evidence-based anti-bullying program, and
- annual training with students, staff, families and school community.
In 2011, the Department and the Board of Education supported the passage of Act 214, known as the "Safe Schools Act," to improve monitoring and reporting of bullying and harassment. In 2011 the Department launched a statewide campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of bullying with a series of student-produced public service announcements promoting safe schools.
Acknowledging bullying is an evolving field, the Department recently revised its administrative rules for student misconduct, Hawaii Administrative Rules Title 8 Chapter 19, to include the definitions of "bullying" and "cyberbullying."
Additionally, the Department develops and sustain school programs that:
- Teach students how to treat each other with respect and aloha
- Promote sense of belonging and acceptance in all students
- Prevent students from becoming victims
- Empower bystanders to take stance against bullying
- Provide a confidential reporting system
Bullying is a community issue, and it can only be prevented when the power of a community is brought together. School staff can do a great deal to prevent bullying and protect students, but they can't do it alone. Parents and youth also have a role to play in preventing bullying at school.
We recommend that parents:
- Talk to your child about respecting diversity of all including addressing sexual orientation and gender identity and name calling.
- Learn the procedures for reporting incidents of bullying and harassment (please contact the school principal).
- If your child is being bullied:
- Be supportive and gather information about the bullying. Listen carefully to what your child tells you about the bullying.
Do not encourage physical retaliation. For example: Do not say, "Just hit them back."
- Contact your child's teacher or principal. Emphasize you want to work with the staff at school in finding a solution.
- Help your child become more resilient to bullying. Help to develop your child's talents or positive attributes. Teach him or her how to seek help from an adult when feeling threatened by a bully.
Community-wide strategies can help identify and support children who are bullied, redirect the behavior of children who bully, and change the attitudes of adults and youth who tolerate bullying behaviors in peer groups, schools, and communities.
When parents and youth are involved in the solutions:
- Students feel safer and can focus on learning.
- Parents worry less.
- Teachers and staff can focus on their work.
- Schools can develop more responsive solutions because students are more likely to see or hear about bullying than adults.
- School climate improves because students are engaged in taking action to stop bullying.
- Parents can support schools' messages about bullying at home. They are also more likely to recognize signs that a child has been bullied or is bullying others.
Internet safety is being aware of victimizing issues online such as being ripped off, disrespected, bullied, harrassed, scammed or stalked while online. We nurture a
safe digital learning environment in our schools. This means promoting the idea of digital citizenship, defined as being a responsible, safe and ethical user of digital and internet technologies.
Hawaii Administrative Rules,
Chapter 19, governs issues related to student misconduct. It's important that students and parents review this information to be aware of the consequences of a Chapter 19 violation. We offer the document in these languages: