Anti-Bullying Work

The Department is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable learning atmosphere for students, families and educators. We work to reduce bullying and cyberbullying by emphasizing a culture of respect, responsibility and resiliency, using a frame work of prevention, response and follow-up. We work with communities to promote understanding, and investigate incidents to ensure student safety.

​​​​​​What is it?

  • “Bullying” — any written, verbal, graphic, or physical act that a student or group of students exhibits toward other particular student(s) and the behavior causes mental or physical harm to the other student(s); and is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for the other student(s).
  • “Cyberbullying” — electronically transmitted acts that a student has exhibited toward another student or employee of the department which causes mental or physical harm to the other student(s) or school personnel and is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment.

    Your role

    Everyone has a role to play in bullying prevention and response. Click to learn more:

A community issue

Bullying belongs to all of us. School staff can address incidents and support students at school, but they cannot stop bullying — in all its forms, and in all the places it occurs — on their own. Families, students, and communities have a role to play to adopt and promote a culture of respect, responsibility and resiliency.

We urge families to talk with their children about being respectful and empathetic towards others, including those different from themselves. While bullying can happen to anyone, students may also be targeted because of race, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, learning disabilities and other qualities. (These concerns are additionally governed by civil rights laws; learn more here.)

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, families and communities.

Our approach:
  1. Prevention: All schools are invested in building a positive school culture and climate to encourage all students to be respectful and empathetic. To address bullying behaviors schools may be implementing one or more the following:
    • School-wide positive behavior practices that teach students to be respectful, responsible and compassionate learners.
    • Anti-Bullying Programs: Communities are unique, and schools have different approaches based on their community’s needs. Some schools have students leading their anti-bullying efforts.
    • Community Partnerships: Many schools cultivate relationships with community agencies, health and wellness providers, policing and community policing groups, legal advisors, cultural practitioners and others to broaden supports.
  2. Response: When an incident happens, the principal or his/her designee investigates to:
    • Determine whether an offense as defined by Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) Chapter 19 occurred.
    • Make an entry in the Department’s student support database, which allows schools to identify, monitor and track student concerns over time.
  3. Follow-up: School staff provide supports to victims and bullies to address ongoing conditions that may have contributed to the bullying incident and to help prevent future incidents. These conditions may include issues at home, stress, abuse, and health, social-emotional and behavioral health issues, among others.


Pono Campaign

As a cultural response to bullying in schools, student groups are encouraged to actively “Grow Pono” to create a more welcoming and safe environment for everyone at their school. E Ola Pono means to live with respect for and in harmony with everyone and everything around you. The annual Statewide E Ola Pono Campaign​ challenges students to work together on activities or projects that promote pono as a “Way to Be”. Student led projects and campaigns have proven to be the most effective and powerful initiatives to reduce harassment and bullying in schools. Addressing this need in a culturally relevant way based on Hawaii's host culture provides a foundation that can benefit all people who call Hawaii home.

Register for the 2015-16 campaign, and connect with campaign materials and other resources on the Growing Pono Schools website. 2014-15 winners:

  • High School Division: 1st place James Campbell High for "Mixed Plate" ($1,000); 2nd place ALU LIKE High School group for "A Pono Community" ($500)
  • Middle School Division: 1st place Kohala Middle for "Kohala Unupa'a" ($1,000); 2nd place Kapolei Middle for "What Does Living Pono Look Like in Kapolei?" ($500)
  • Elementary School Division: 1st place Kahaluu Key Project for "Project Holomua" ($1,000); 2nd place Nahienaena Elementary for "Pono4Days" ($500)

Chapter 19

Hawaii Administrative Rules, Chapter 19, governs issues related to student misconduct, which includes bullying, harassment and cyberbullying. It's important that students and parents review this information to be aware of what constitutes a Chapter 19 violation, and what the consequences are. We offer the document in these languages:

Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)

The Hawaii Health Data Warehouse via the state Department of Health produces this biannual report to track a spectrum of youth risk behaviors, in conjunction with a national data gathering and analysis effort by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report includes harassment and bullying at school, and cyberbullying at school. View the most recent reports:

2013 report overview:
  • High school students reporting they were bullied in the last year dropped to 18.7% from 20.3% two years earlier. Middle school indicators look more broadly at whether students were bullied/harassed at any time during grades 6-8; those reporting they were rose to 44.6% from 40.7% two years earlier.
  • High school students reporting they were cyberbullied in the last year rose slightly to 15.6% from 14.9% two years earlier. The broader middle school indicator looked at whether grade 6-8 students reporting being bullied electronically, ever; that number was unchanged at 23.7%.

​Report bullying

If your child reports that he/she has been bullied, report it to the school teacher, counselor or principal immediately. The principal or designee will initiate an investigation. You can also use our feedback form to report an incident anonymously (we require an email address). Please indicate the school where the incident happened. The complex area/school will be notified.

Contact Information

Communications and Community Affairs Office

Phone: 808-586-3232


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