Wednesday, July 28, 2010

HI: Board of Ed Exploring Bullying Policies

Hawaii One Of Few States With No Laws Against Harassment, Bullying

POSTED: 10:14 pm HST July 27, 2010
UPDATED: 5:52 am HST July 28, 2010

Honolulu -- Hawaii is one of a few states that has no laws against bullying and harassment in the public schools.

A Board of Education committee Tuesday, started gathering information on the problem and potential solutions from experts.

A Hawaii School Health Survey taken in February, found an alarming 51 percent of high school students surveyed, feel harassment and bullying by other students is a problem in their school.

The survey also found 32 percent have been hurt by messages sent by e-mail or by postings on the Internet.

Although there is currently no law that protects students from bullying or harassment, the BOE committee is gathering input from experts and may eventually craft a proposal that would make the practice illegal in Hawaii’s public schools.

Experts urged BOE members to support a plan that includes mental health intervention for both bullies and their victims. “When a child has been assaulted in the Hawaii state school system, what kind of intervention is done on behalf of the victims? There is nothing,” said clinical and forensic psychologist Reneau Kennedy.

The BOE plans further discussions on bullying and harassment in public schools over the next few months.

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