Bullying Prevention 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.

Speak Now HIDOE anti-bullying app

NEW! Speak Now HIDOE reporting app now available for middle and high schools! 

This easy-to-use app offers students another way to report bullying incidents that happen on campus, on HIDOE transportation, or at HIDOE-sponsored events. The app is now available for middle schools and high schools. Click to learn more.

What is it?

  • “Bullying” — any written, verbal, graphic, or physical act that hurts, harms, humiliates or intimidates a student, including those with protected class statuses, that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment.
  • “Cyberbullying” — electronically transmitted acts, including but not limited to those transmitted through the Internet, cell phone, or other wireless hand-held device initiated by one student toward another student or employee of the department that hurts, harms, humiliates, or intimidates the student or employee; and is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive, that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment. Cyberbullying can occur:
    1. On campus, or other department premises, on department transportation, or during a department sponsored activity or event on or off school property;
    2. Through a department data system without department authorized communication; or
    3. Through an off campus computer network, if the conduct impacts the educational environment.
Additionally, cyberbullying may also be based on a person's protected class, including but not limited to, a person's race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, physical appearance and characteristics, and socio-economic status. Please review our guidelines on social media and texting abuse here.

FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT: To be clear, bullying is not acceptable in Hawai'i's public school system. [VIEW]

YOUR ROLE: Everyone has a role to play in bullying prevention and response. Click to learn more:
  • Parents and Families [VIEW]
  • Students, including victims, perpetrators and bystanders [VIEW]
  • Staff [VIEW​]

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. In our schools, we cultivate these characteristics as part of Nā Hopena A‘o, social-emotional learning, and other efforts. 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; a violation of civil rights laws

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.

Any child who is bullied or who witnesses a bullying incident is encouraged to tell a trusted adult. (Additionally, students in our middle and high schools can report using the Speak Now HIDOE app.) If an incident happens on our school campuses, on HIDOE transportation, or during a HIDOE-sponsored event, appropriate school personnel will investigate and follow up.

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.


Great programs

E Ola Pono: 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.

  • Results of the 2019-20 campaign can be viewed here.
    • Aiea High School - 1st Place High School division (awarded $1,000)
    • Kailua High & Farrington High - 2nd place tie in High School Division (each received $500)
    • Mililani High - 3rd place in the High School division (received $300)
    • Blanche Pope Elementary - 1st place in Elementary school division (received $1,000)
  • Results of the 2018-19 campaign can be viewed here.
  • Results of the 2017-18 campaign can be viewed here.

Peer Mediation: Student-led and focused programs that empower students to create environments that are safe and peaceful. An example: Kapa‘a High —​ WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM

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. 

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) monitors a broad range of health-related behaviors among secondary school students, including health-risk behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence; tobacco use; alcohol and other drug use; sexual behaviors related to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases; unhealthy dietary behaviors; and physical inactivity. The YRBS is administered every other year in conjunction with a national data gathering and analysis effort by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Hawaii YRBS is a joint effort of the Hawaii State Departments of Education (HIDOE), Department of Health (DOH), and the University of Hawaii’s Curriculum Research & Development Group. The Hawai'i YRBS data and reports are available on the Hawai'i Health Data Warehouse.

Supporting children

To support and develop the academic achievement, character building and social-emotional well-being of all children, the Board of Education develops policies and the Department cultivates and curates aligned resources for students, employees and the public school system.​ Learn more.

National Bullying Prevention Month

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Find more information and resources on these National Bullying Prevention websites:

Unity Day

Everyone is encouraged to wear orange and celebrate Unity Day to show solidarity that all students deserve to be safe in school, online and in the community. Individuals, schools and communities wear orange to show that together with aloha, we are united for kindness, acceptance and inclusion.​​​

Click here for more information on Unity Day and the national movement.

HIDOE Unity Day Flyer

Contact Information

Communications Branch

Phone: (808) 784-6200

Email: doeinfo@k12.hi.us

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