Friday, April 23, 1999


Isle student
held for making
school threat

The 14-year-old girl reportedly
threatened to bomb a
Kailua school

Educators here feel for children
How to prevent? Readers reply

By Harold Morse


A 14-year-old girl is in police custody after allegedly threatening to bomb her private Kailua school. The girl reportedly said she wished she had been part of this week's Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colo., in which 14 students and one teacher died.

The Kailua incident was among several in Hawaii this week under investigation by police and school officials.

Graffiti at Waialua High School, youngsters in trench coats at Radford High and remarks made by a student at Kalani High are also under investigation by school officials, who said they are taking all such acts seriously.

In the Kailua incident, students yesterday said they heard the girl threaten to burn and bomb Redemption Academy at 355 N. Kainalu Drive, police said.

She was then taken to the principal, where she said she wished she had been part of the Columbine High incident, according to police reports.

Police arrested the girl on three counts of first-degree terroristic threatening.

The words "Consider Yourself Dead" were painted at Waialua, along with other statements such as "Wake Up," "This Is No Joke" and a lot of profanity, Principal Tom Kurashige said.

Two Radford students came to school dressed in trench coats, "obviously making an inappropriate statement," said Greg Knudsen, Department of Education spokesman.

The gunmen at the Colorado school wore trench coats during Tuesday's attack.

At Kalani High School, a male student undergoing disciplinary action reportedly made verbal threats, Knudsen said.

Kurashige said the Waialua graffiti was discovered by custodians at 7 a.m. It was painted over by 7:30, he said.

"We had an assembly to talk about it with students," he said.

Had it not been for the shooting in Colorado, yesterday's graffiti might have been viewed only as vandalism, Kurashige said.

Police Chief Lee Donahue said officers have talked with officials from all island schools since the Colorado shootings.

"I think we're very fortunate in Hawaii because of state gun laws that we have," Donahue said.

He said police favor legislation to make storage requirements for firearms more stringent.

Reporter Jaymes K. Song contributed to this report.

Educators in
Hawaii feel fear
for the children

An Aiea teacher who was
shot in 1988 says such trauma
is horrible for kids

How to prevent a shooting?
Readers reply

By Craig Gima


When Rosemary Stout saw television coverage of the high school shooting in Colorado, her first thought was for the children.

"I know that kids that have gone through the trauma, it is really going to be horrible for them," Stout said.

In June 1988, Stout was a summer school English teacher at Aiea High School when a 17-year-old student took out a .38-caliber handgun and shot her in the chest.

The bullet came within an inch of her heart, and then lodged in the blackboard behind her.

Even though more than 10 years have passed, Stout does not like to talk about the incident -- one of only a handful of school shootings in Hawaii.

Instead, she expressed her concern for the students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., and how their lives may change because of the tragedy.

"I really, really felt for the kids," she said.

The student who shot her was paroled last year after serving eight years of a life term.

At Campbell High School, where earlier this year a student with a gun barricaded himself in a classroom, Principal Louis Vierra made an announcement to students and offered counseling.

Vierra said he did not know if any students requested counseling, but he said two parents called up to talk to him about their concerns.

"The toughest thing about things like that is we knew our incident would creep up again in the news," Vierra said.

He said with only 35 days left in the school year, the school has been trying to put the incident behind it.

Stout said she's not sure what more can be done to prevent school violence.

"I don't know what pushes people over like that," she said.

"All schools do their best if they know if people are having problems, to try and get them into counseling," Stout added.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association sent out a news release yesterday offering suggestions to ensure safety on campus.

Those include:

Bullet Expanding mediation and conflict resolution programs to all schools.

Bullet Providing training to all school employees to identify and report warning signs of violence and mental health problems.

Bullet Enforcing the zero tolerance policy for weapons in schools.

Bullet Providing enough counselors for schools at a recommended ratio of one counselor for every 250 students.

Bullet Demanding that the entertainment industry stop glorifying violence in movies, video games and music, and that the news media restrain itself in its reporting on violent incidents.

"The risk is always out there," Vierra said. "Kids are so impressionable and some of them are, unfortunately, mentally ill."

How to prevent
a shooting? Readers
offer some ideas



Here are comments the Star-Bulletin received in response to the questions:

Do you think something needs to be done to prevent a shooting at a Hawaii school? If so, what?

Beverly Kai, Waikiki: "Put metal detectors and guards at all school entrances. ... When you are a grandparent, somehow every little kid becomes your own. A neighbor child came home Thursday to find that his home had been broken into. ... His mother said, what with the news of the shootings and the violation of his home, he was afraid to go to sleep that night in his own bed. The next day he teared up when I told him I would be scared, too."

Shun Wah Wong, WAIKIKI: "As it has shown in so many recent cases, it can happen anywhere. While everyone is trying to determine the cause of the shooting in Colorado, one thing I believe is clear: They acted out in anger. Although we have not seen such form of violence in Hawaii, today's teens are releasing their anger in destructive ways ranging from graffiti to assault. I believe that there should be some form of course curriculum that is developed to help teens understand and find other ways to deal with their anger nonviolently."

Gordon Banner, KALIHI: "The safest thing would be to close all the entrances to the school and every student has to pass through a metal detector at only one entrance. Counseling will not work because a lot of teen-agers and students act and talk irrationally and crazy just to attract attention. Nobody knows for real what's for real until something like this happens."

John Thatcher, HILO: "I am a parent and a teacher with the Connections School-Within-A-School at Mountain View. . . . Many students get lost and alienated in large schools, especially large schools in rural, socioeconomically deprived areas. Dr. Mary Ann Raywid, at the University of Hawaii (Manoa), is a leading authority in the United States on schools-within-schools. Her vision offers us hope for creating smaller, more caring, schools within the present system (and with very little additional costs)."

Curtis L. Kaneshiro, KALIHI VALLEY: "...Troubled high school students are at-will to do anything that they want to do. Violence is on an up-rise here in Hawaii. We must enforce gun control. School officials at each school should monitor their own grounds. If necessary, bring in security, document every incident, counseling; take preventive measures if such incidents ever occur."

Stuart Soosman, PUNAHOU AREA: "I think all schools here should have detectors like the airport, so they can check the bags as they go in, the backpacks, because it's just a matter of time when it's going to happen here, because of copycat. I think the federal government should pay for it and that's what needs to be done. They've got to have more security."

Anita Li, DOWNTOWN HONOLULU: "I think that children should be taught to appreciate life and know how precious life is. Many people in the world are suffering or are surviving from various hardships. War, famine, poverty and illness are just some examples. If our children learn not to take things for granted and learn to appreciate how fortunate they are to be healthy, warm and provided for, they would not feel dissatisfied and unfairly treated."

Warren Satsuma, PEARL CITY: "I don't have any answers, but why don't you folks ask these troubled kids at the school. I think they know the answer. We adults don't know the answer. We think we know, but we don't."

Raymond Richards, LAIE: "There is something that should definitely be done as far as schools and protecting our children. You have to realize our children are our most vital resources, but on the other hand, you have to realize that education starts at home. As far as the school is concerned, there is nothing wrong with putting metal detectors. That's it, for everybody's safety."

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