The beginning of a school year always opens with promise: the promise of good grades, good friends, and good memories. No one thinks about violence.
By violence, the Centers for Disease Control lists as examples bullying, fighting, cyberbullying, and gang activity, in addition to weapon use. The CDC said that more than 8 percent of students have witnessed violence on their campuses, and more than 7 percent skipped school to avoid it.
The level of school violence across the nation is a persistent problem that students, parents and school staff have yet to solve. The “smaller” acts of violence are more prevalent, while the more extreme ones, including school shootings, are less so. Still, any act of violence negatively impacts the feeling of security students deserve to enjoy while at school.
Moanalua High School–actually all of Hawaii–has been fortunate in that the images in the news of students evacuating campus with their hands in the air while police teams rush inside with assault weapons have not made it to these shores.
Those extreme instances are tragic. But again, not all disruptions on a school campus need to be that extreme to be disruptive and dangerous. A disagreement between students, an idea for a prank, or a plan to sabotage a school event can easily escalate into a situation where innocent people get hurt.
Everyone wants a safe school. Even if you don’t like having homework or having to carry a hall pass, you certainly don’t want to be a witness to violence, let alone be a victim. You want your school routine to be just that–a routine.
Moanalua has nearly 2,000 students. It has about 200 faculty, staff and administrators. At a ten-to-one ratio, that’s not a lot of adult eyes per student.
That’s where you come in.
If you know of any possible situation that might threaten the school in any way, tell an adult on campus. Moanalua High School Principal Robin Martin has said at assemblies over the years that the administration will conduct an immediate investigation to determine the validity of the information and take appropriate steps.
So again, if you know something, tell someone at the school.
It’s not snitching. It’s protecting. All of us.
Martin said the administration has followed up on possible dangers in the past and has averted conflict as well as dismissed threats that were not true. She said in at least one instance, the student did tell an adult–but it was a parent, and the information did not reach the front office until it made its way to the local media outlets. This information was later found to be false. The school works with state, county, and–if necessary–federal agencies to ensure student safety. It’s better to be extra cautious than filled with regret.
The lesson here is that they only way to keep our campus safe is to tell the people charged with that task: the administration. This is an important part of their job. Do not take matters into your own hands. Place your safety in theirs. If you don’t want to give your name, call Student CrimeStoppers at 955-8300. You could get a financial reward.
As much as our administrators wish they could channel Harry Potter and apparate from place to place, they can’t. So it’s up to you, Moanalua Menehunes, to tell an adult on campus if you hear or know of something that could make our school anything other than the best place to spend our waking hours.