Kahuku school fosters respect, not bullying
In response to the "Student Union" column about bullying at Kahuku High and Intermediate School (Star-Bulletin, June 12),
I agree that bullying can never be ignored. Safety at our school is the highest priority. Bullying is not tolerated. Any reports of bullying are immediately addressed.
Students are continuously encouraged to report bullying and harassment problems immediately, although it might be scary or easier not to report. This is crucial for positive intervention and resolution. Faculty and staff members frequently reach out to help groups and individual students who are struggling with personal, social or academic problems because they are committed to the well-being of each student.
We also have taken steps to ensure Kahuku staff members are accessible to students and have deployed administrative offices to four areas on campus. This provides students with prompt access to grade-level counselors, administrators and other support personnel. The school safety manager, who is viewed as both the strictest and the friendliest adult on campus, gives out his cell-phone number to students and faculty members so help can come immediately. These arrangements provide for better monitoring of activities across the campus to prevent or address bullying.
To help students build strong connections with faculty, staff and one another, all students in grades seven through 10 are on teams and share common groups of teachers. Core subject teachers have an additional daily period to discuss strategies to help all students be successful. In addition, all seventh- and eighth-graders participate in "Tribes." Tribes is a curriculum that aims to build a caring community and replace cruel norms with appreciation, inclusion and respect for and among diverse students. These connections and curriculum prevent bullying attitudes and conduct.
Kahuku High and Intermediate provides multiple opportunities for participation in our rich academic, music, drama, art, athletic and student activities programs, as well as progressive academic programs such as AVID, STEM and career academies that prepare students for college and careers. Active participation in these programs also builds positive peer and adult relationships that prevent bullying.
Our goal at Kahuku High and Intermediate is for students to attend their community public school as a first choice. We work diligently to make our school a positive, safe and friendly place where students can discover their unique strengths and talents. Almost 150 students come from other areas to attend Kahuku. They cite a safe and academic environment as the common reason. They note that Kahuku students earned almost $2 million in scholarships this year and achieved a remarkable 99 percent graduation rate.
Many students report positive experiences at Kahuku and many alumni return to campus to tutor, mentor and inspire the next generation. There is every indication that we are well on our way to achieving our goal of making Kahuku High and Intermediate School a safe, positive school where bullying is not an option. We are committed to a bully-free campus for all students.
Lisa DeLong is the principal of Kahuku High and Intermediate School.