LIHUE — At Kapaa High School, 31 students have committed to doing what they can to stop bullying.
They are members of the Kapaa High Peer Mediation Ohana, which uses a process of resolving conflicts with the assistance of neutral, third party, trained student mediators.
“We’ve been a program for seven years now,” the group’s president Myah Post told a small crowd gathered at Kauai Economic Opportunity in Lihue. “It’s something that we believe is working at our school so we want to share it with everyone as well.”
Waimea High School also has its own group of peer mediators working toward the same goal.
Students from both schools gave presentations during Thursday’s celebration for International Conflict Resolution Day.
Post said the percentage of students in Hawaii that have been bullied are alarming, and that she and others are working to reduce those statistics.
“We’re just trying to get the awareness out there and to show that there are so many ways that you can avoid the worse possible thing,” she said.
Keith Kitamura, a Kapaa High School teacher who leads the peer mediation group, said everyone in the program works hard and believes in making a difference.
“This program is always based on our students,” he said. “And we wouldn’t have this program, we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing, without passionate students that really believe in what we believe in.”
The event was not only about celebrating Conflict Resolution Day, but the work of Kauai Economic Opportunity and its 50 years of service on Kauai.
Prior to presenting the organization’s mediation program with a certificate, Kauai County Council Chair Jay Furfaro said he’s always been impressed with the work of KEO — a multi-purpose organization with funding from a variety of sources which it uses to plan, conduct, and evaluate a broad range of human development programs.
“In fact, I don’t know what our community really would do without you folks,” he said. “And I think that’s where the saying comes — ‘Even on our worse day, it’s better than anywhere else’ — because of some of the things that KEO does.”
KEO’s mediation program utilizes an informal process in which an impartial third party assists the parties in dispute to resolve their differences without going to court.