Threats. Lockdowns. Investigations.
Within two weeks, four such incidents have been reported on Kauai involved our schools.
The first was at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School.
The second was at Kauai High School.
Monday, another threat was reported at Kauai High School, and one was also reported at Waimea High School.
Police aren’t revealing the nature of the threats. A parent told TGI one involved a student showing other students a video and threatening violence at school. The one at Waimea may have involved a bomb threat.
Students have been questioned and in at least one, a student was detained by police. Each time one of these incidents happens, it raises tension levels. So, all this leads us to ask, what’s going on? Why, suddenly, are several threats coming out involving schools here?
That, we don’t know. We haven’t heard of such incidents in recent times at schools here until this sudden wave of them.
Some argue that when the media gives coverage to such threats, it only encourages those behind them to do it more often, and it encourages others to follow suit. Copycat behavior. Ignore them and they will stop doing it, is the basic argument.
But we would be remiss if we ignored these threats and did not let the public know what was happening, especially since it involves the safety of students, which we all know is a top priority.
School administrators, led by Superintendent Bill Arakaki, have done an excellent job in responding the threats and maintaining safety, without letting the situation become one of panic and fear. And police have done an excellent job in quickly responding as schools were locked down for safety measures. Police presence does give people a sense of security and calms such situations.
In these days of school becoming targets of those with ill-intentions, the district and police don’t and can’t take these threats lightly. They must respond quickly, firmly and with the authority they have. These threats should not be easily dismissed and they are not. We, too, must take these threats seriously and give them our full attention.
Arakaki spells it out clearly, and put it well in his letter addressing the threat at Kauai High:
“We continue to provide services to ensure the social emotional health and well-being for all. Counselors and School Based Behavioral Health personnel will be on hand to assist and support students and staff as needed at Kauai High School.
“All threats to our school and students are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. Terroristic threats are considered Class A student conduct offenses. Penalties can range from detention to dismissal with the possibility of arrest and serious criminal charges.
“We encourage parents to speak with their child(ren) about making the right choices and the potential consequences of their actions. We urge all students and families to refrain from reposting threats and/or rumors online. According to law enforcement, reposting a threat is as good as making the threat itself and contributes to prolonging the event.”
We encourage parents and the community to pay attention to these threats and should you hear of any others, report them to police immediately. Don’t wait and assume it’s a false alarm. Don’t decide everything will be just fine. Let the police and school staff and adminstrators do their jobs, as we know the safety of students is their highest priority and they are trained for such situations.
We don’t want to create an atmosphere where everyone is suspicious and we don’t create a situation where parents are afraid to send their kids to school. But we do ask locals to be vigilant to any threats toward others and let the authorities know of them.