Safety at School
Students need to feel and be safe at school. Research demonstrates a strong correlation between academic achievement and a safe school environment. Employees also deserve a safe workplace.
Designing Safer Schools (video): Maui High, in conjunction with PBS News Hour‘s Student Reporting Labs and the Student Television Network, produced this examination of how new schools are designed to mitigate dangers while still keeping a thriving learning environment.
The Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness Branch is responsible for the security of Department campuses. Our schools and state offices are secured as best as possible to prevent theft, vandalism, trespassing and acts of violence. Annual training is provided for all security personnel with continued research into security best practices and the latest technology.
School and student safety is a responsibility for all involved — administrators, staff, teachers, students, families, law enforcement and the broader community. Safety and security are necessary in order for learning to take place.
In order to keep our schools safe, rules have been established relating to student misconduct; these rules also govern searches of students and seizures of property. Hawaii Administrative Rules, Chapter 19, is state law. It’s important that students and parents review this information to be aware of the consequences of a Chapter 19 violation. We offer the document in these languages:
Safety on and off campus
We are fortunate to live in Hawaii, where incidents of violence and threatening behaviors in schools are fewer than for our Mainland counterparts. (See the Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information.)
That said, the Hawaii State Department of Education takes the safety of our schools, staff and students seriously. Students are encouraged to report any threat to a school administrator or teacher, or the police. (Again, students involved in such incidents are subject to Chapter 19, above.)
Police will be engaged when there is real or perceived danger. Administrators and staff will initiate safety protocols when incidents happen on campus, and facilitate communication with families, community groups and law enforcement when incidents involving students happen off campus.
Families should speak with their children about basic safety measures when they are out in public and do not have a trusted adult nearby:
- Stay away from strangers, do not talk to or take anything from them.
- Don’t go anywhere with someone you don’t know. Never accept a ride from a stranger.
- If a stranger approaches you, seek help immediately from a trusted adult.
- Use the buddy system; avoid walking anywhere alone.
- If a stranger grabs you, do whatever it takes to stop the stranger, yell for help.
- Report any suspicious activity to a trusted adult.
- Be alert of your surroundings and let others know where you will be and what time you will be back.
We rely on the community to watch for and report suspicious activity around our campuses. Please work with our staff and/or law enforcement so that incidents are properly investigated.
Hawaii’s law enforcement organizations are our partners in safe school communities. Their community policing outreach includes school campuses and classrooms to help educate children about safety. The community can learn more about and participate in these efforts here:
School Safety Committees
All schools have a School Safety Committee charged with attaining the following goals. Connect with your school to learn more.
- Increasing safety awareness
- Building enthusiasm for safety programs
- Reducing and preventing injuries