Saturday, April 24, 1999

Kids use
Littleton to
draw attention

Some isle students make
threats and refer to the
massacre, police say

By Jaymes K. Song


Police have responded to at least 10 calls to Oahu schools in the past two days.

Four of the 10 confirmed calls made a reference to this week's Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colo.

"It would be improper for me to say everything is going on as normal," said Assistant Police Chief Boisse Correa. "We're getting a lot of calls from the schools, parents and community. So we're very concerned."

The calls ranged from a 14-year-old girl who was arrested for threatening to bomb her private school, Redemption Academy in Kailua, to Radford High students wearing trench coats similar to those worn by the suspects in Colorado.

The arrested girl reportedly said she wished she had been part of the Columbine High incident. In the only other related felony arrest on police records, a 17-year-old Radford student was taken into custody Thursday for allegedly making threats to students to do the same as in Colorado.

School and police security patrols have been beefed up at all Oahu schools, and the precautionary measure will continue next week.

"We're out there checking the schools day and night making sure there's no vandalism and that it's protected," Correa said. "We're doing our best to just get over this trying time."

The Department of Education has also sent memos to all schools requesting that they review safety procedures.

Department spokesman Greg Knudsen said although the department can't guarantee safety at the schools, the schools are doing everything to prepare for and try to identify potential problems.

Yesterday, police responded to incidents at four schools. Two of the cases involved students assaulting teachers. None of those cases involved references to the Colorado shooting.

Police would not disclose the schools or details of the four cases, citing juvenile privacy laws.

Correa said youths who refer to the Colorado incident do so to get exposure, recognition or a reaction from adults.

Police and school administrators are asking parents to hold their children more accountable and take an active role in their lives.

"One lesson educators can learn from the shootings is to be even more diligent in recognizing the intellectual and psychological needs of every student," said schools Superintendent Paul LeMahieu.

"Families, too, must recognize the needs of their children. They must be conscious of their interests and anxieties, and provide timely and appropriate guidance and support."

Said Knudsen: "The minor incidents are getting greater attention. I don't want to be overly concerned, but every minor incident is being taken seriously to reassure the schools are safe and secure."

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Andy Cole of Honolulu sings a song of praise Thursday night
during the Hawaiian Island Ministries' Honolulu '99 conference.

Ministries address
teen violence

Pastors and lay leaders confer to
hear Christian authors and therapists

By Mary Adamski


Kids killing kids is a phenomenon that underscores the failure of society to teach teen-agers how to manage anger, says Archibald Hart, former dean of the School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary.

It happens in high school but not in college, said the psychology professor and author who spoke at a Honolulu conference this week.

"High school has a certain hierarchy, a certain aristocracy, so many kids feel like outcasts in high school. That drops when you go to college," Hart said. "In high school there is a lot of frustration, a lot of rejection, a lot of struggling to find your identity. How does one deal with that? Is taking revenge the only way out?

The student slayings in Colorado that left 15 people dead show how "rage-filled" modern life is, he said.

"Everything in media is about anger out of control. The message young people are getting today is, "If you get angry, take revenge.' It's in every rock song, every pop song. ... It feeds the expression of hostility; it mobilizes it."

Hart is among more than 30 speakers at the Hawaiian Island Ministries Honolulu '99 conference, which began Thursday at the Sheraton-Waikiki Hotel. About 2,400 people were registered to attend workshops, seminars and massed general sessions that continue through today.

At a preconference "intensive" session Thursday, Hart spoke on ministering to the emotional needs of people. He said afterward that anger was the emotion that dominated the five-hour workshop because of his audience's concern with Tuesday's attack at Columbine High School.

"The Colorado thing brought to a head just how rage-filled our culture is and how little help we get from our culture in dealing with our anger," said Hart, author of several books, including "How to Find Help When You Need It."

"We need a better understanding of anger," he said. "There is a lot of myth, and Freudian psychology has misled us a lot."

Hart said: "At the turn of the century, there was an etiquette in place. If you got angry at somebody, etiquette demanded that you didn't express it right away; there was a protocol.

"Now there is no etiquette; there is no time to stop and reflect on your anger. Anger is a signal. ... Anger has a context," Hart said. "One is angry at somebody. There is an attachment of meaning to that act. Unless you stop and think, you may be incorrect" in how and where you express your anger, said the psychologist.

Church leaders need to listen to the young, said Hope Chapel Kaneohe pastor Ralph Moore, who led a workshop on bringing young adults of "Generation X" into churches. "The church has done a poor job of meeting the needs of this generation.

"I don't do a 'how to' talk. My message is that you need to wake up and realize there is a need, as we bring younger and younger people into leadership circles, to understand they do have something to say," Moore said.

"The kind of respect they give is the best kind; it is friendship. The role of generations is to mentor each other," Moore said. "When we were growing up, elders demanded respect. It was, 'I'm old and have power over you.'

"I wouldn't want that kind of respect."

Honolulu '99 brings together pastors and lay leaders from 43 different denominations to hear top Christian authors, therapists and inspirational speakers. It is the 11th conference since Hawaiian Island Ministries was created 16 years ago by the Rev. Dan Chun and his wife, Pam.

Chun called the exchange of ideas "a cross-pollination of people from different denominations."

The general meetings -- with popular speakers, amplified music, staged drama and big-screen televisions -- evoke comparison with evangelical crusades and pop concerts. But Chun stressed that "this is not 'one shot, see you around.' In your own church, you can feel you are fighting the battle alone; come to this and you don't feel you're alone."

About 100 teen-agers are among the conferees, and there is a "teen track" to follow through the seminars. One session was titled "How to raise happy parents."

"I'm hoping to learn more about how to live as a teen-age Christian," said Joshua Yee, an eighth-grader, attending with others from the Kaimuki Christian Church youth group.

"I love going to church," said Melissa Robson, 14, who is on the board of deacons of the Lihue United Church on Kauai. She and her mother, Joanne, and others from the church wore matching church T-shirts and clustered together in the crowd.

Retiree Claire Kriebel, a deaconess of Central Union Church, expressed satisfaction at the sight of youngsters in the crowd. She said, "If there were more of this going on, you wouldn't have what they had in Denver."

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