Lately I have been reading various articles and/or letters to the forum
concerning our island’s teenage night life and the safety of our young adults
when it comes to the weekends.
All of the information published seemed to
follow the same track: Parents are concerned for their children’s well being
while going out at night; the “parties” held by teens on public and private
property are hosts for gang bangs, drugs and other illegal wrong doings; and
the Kaua’i Police Department wants to crack down on these social gatherings and
they need our community’s help in doing so.
But one thing caught my eye as
I read these letters and articles and that is that none of them were written by
As an average teenager on this remote island, I know first
hand how frustrating it is to grow up here. When you have seen all six movies
being played at our two theaters, spent too much time at the bowling alley,
over used your VCR with movie rentals, and overstayed your welcome at Borders,
you begin to lose your sanity!
What is our remedy to this instant boredom?
Teenagers, being social people, choose to gather together at a designated
location and spend the night dancing to music, catching up with friends, and
spend a few hours enjoying our independence from our parents.
But as we’ve
witnessed, Kaua’i’s community and the law enforcement agencies are not quick to
grant us this right to independence. As a result, Kaua’i’s young adults are
forced to either stay home, try to “outsmart” KPD and gather in some
out-of-the-way location, or go basically insane from boredom!
immediately come to mind when the terra “party” is used. The first is the
birthday party held Jan. 23, behind Wailua Golf Course, where 500 teenagers
gathered and two KPD officers were injured while breaking it up.
two officers attempted to get the crowd to disperse, five people reacted and
threw bottles at them. Since that incident, KPD has been out in full force,
patrolling every possible party site, blocking off access to certain places
before curfew, asking people to disperse as soon as a small crowd forms, and
letting us know that they will not tolerate that kind of disrespect.
misunderstand me, the reactions of those people were not well thought out and
the two officers should have never been injured, but our community is punishing
all of the teenagers on this island for the actions taken by five people!
I understand the point that our law enforcement agencies are trying to express,
but is it fair to hold the rest of us accountable for the actions of five
The second incident occurred on Friday, Feb. 25, at Spaldings
Monument in Kealia. Three people were injured in what one radio station
referred to as a “gang bang.”
Once again our community was shocked and
fearful of what our island was becoming. And once again, as teenagers, we were
faced with the reality that unless we prove our responsibility and regain our
trust with the community, our weekends were not going to amount to
Both of the above incidents are tragic and embarrassing, but those
are only two of the countless gatherings held on this island. What about every
other weekend when teenagers gather to dance and socialize and everyone goes
home safe and happy?
I have never seen an article about that. No one calls
the radio station the morning after a great party to report that everyone is
safe and the cops were never called.
Our community is only seeing one side
of this picture, and that side is not fairly representing our case.
positive note, the past couple of weekends have been significantly better than
others thanks to non-profit organizations like the Hawai’i Children’s Theatre
Group, S.H.O.U.T, and The American Lung Association who have hosted teen dances
at places like Guilligan’s and Whaler’s Brew Pub. But what happens when these
I understand the concerns of our community, but does the
community understand us as well? It is not fair to deny our remedy to the lack
of teenage activities on this island and leave us to fend for ourselves.
In the Jan. 27 addition of The Garden Island, Police Chief George Frietas
said, “Grant monies could be available to assemble another task force to tackle
the problem,” meaning these parties. If this is so, instead of forming a task
force to break up teenage gatherings, we should form one to generate social
activities that are fun and abide by the law.
I challenge you, the
community of Kaua’i— implement an alternative, and see the respect you gain
from our youth!