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20 Kealakehe students punished for fights

By Mary Vorsino


About 20 Kealakehe High students received suspensions of varying lengths for their roles in fights on the Hawaii island campus that prompted school officials to cancel classes Dec. 7.

Kealakehe Principal Wilfred Mura­kami said the disciplinary actions ranged from in-school suspensions to long-term placements in alternative learning programs.

Murakami also said he met with a few Marshallese parents Friday to begin the work of figuring out how to address the root of the fighting — what the Department of Education described in a news release as tensions "between local, Micronesian and Marshallese cultures and lifestyles."

Murakami has said Marshallese students were the target of ongoing bullying and taunts from other students prior to the fighting.

The meeting with Marshallese parents was designed as a first step toward creating stronger ties with parents and addressing ongoing bullying, Mura­kami said.

He said he is planning to hold a community meeting in January to discuss racial tensions, and will also beef up anti-bullying initiatives.

Kealakehe High, with an enrollment of 1,470, canceled school Dec. 7 after two days of fighting on the campus.

The problems culminated Dec. 6 with a melee that involved about 30 students and resulted in eight being arrested.

Those arrested — seven males and one female — were charged with disorderly conduct and released.

Murakami said tensions were rising on campus but were exacerbated by social media.

"You had a few kids who had an agenda against a certain group of kids," he said.

At the parent meeting, he said, parents shared their feelings about "how the Marshallese community is trying to deal with adversity that has been going on a long time."

He added, "They don't want to have any kind of trouble."

Clady Bohanny, whose son was among those arrested, said she believes the fighting was a wake-up call. She also said the school appears to realize the severity of the situation.

Her son, a 10th-grader, received a short suspension for his role in the fighting.

"I can tell by the way the principal is talking, he's going to be … (making) progress."

Bohanny said her son endured bullying and name-calling because he is Marshallese.

She said that she knew about the bullying but "didn't think anything of it."

"I was ignoring it and pretending it was nothing," she said.

Bohanny and others in the Marshallese community said that even in the wake of the fighting, it's difficult for them to make waves and call publicly for change.

Jonithen Jackson, 56, a deacon at United Church of Christ, said many Marshallese parents have come to him with concerns about bullying.

"I said we've got to wait a bit," he said. "If we try to stop that problem, it's very hard."

In the wake of the Kealakehe incident, Jackson sat down with a group of young Marshallese students to call for calm.

He emphasized that cultural misunderstandings are bound to happen because people have different cultural norms and ways of seeing the world.

He also told the young people that they must stay in school.

Jackson conceded that's easier said than done.

The students told him about the bullying they regularly experience. Some students said they had even heard racial slurs coming from teachers.

"They said by some security (guards), some teachers, they are hated," he said.

But Jackson said there is now an opportunity for the community to come together, to learn more about each other and to make peace.

"We've got to do something," he said.

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peanutgallery wrote:
Racism, alive and well in Hawaii. Sad story.
on December 19,2012 | 03:17AM
allie wrote:
The trouble is racial hatreds between Hawaiians and Micronesians and Marshal Islanders. I see it in Waikiki at night. HPD has known about it for several years. Micronesians absolutely despise Hawaiians for their phoney tales of their history. I have heard this from many Hawaiians who deplore this group coming out here. Lots of history involved. SA is not really reporting the full story although they are hinting at it. Ride the bus at night and you can learn a lot more.
on December 19,2012 | 09:20AM
Leinanij wrote:
You are so full of All Lies. Hawaiians have no beef with Micronesians or Marshallese. I doubt you have any Hawaiian friends as you are so full of hate for us. Please pay more attention to your studies so you can finally graduate and go back home to your reservation in North Dakota where you belong.
on December 19,2012 | 03:28PM
allie wrote:
just reporting the facts...talk to hpd
on December 19,2012 | 04:16PM
kahu808 wrote:
Always trying to create ill feelings, race baiter.You really have issues.
on December 19,2012 | 04:14PM
8082062424 wrote:
There you go with your lies allie. so sad.First the term used here is locals that come in many races. then here we go again with your make believe Hawaiian friends. I have two uncles who are police officers and quite a few friends. all your statements are false the one problem police have in Waikiki is Micronesians. they have no respect for the rules or our laws they feel they above it. then when they are caught they play the victim and claim they do not understand. Cops in just about every neighbourhood no when they move into the area. the house they live in is marked because of the constant calls they get from those who live net to them.. that when a call comes in they send a few officers out. they do not work but seem to have enough money to stay drunk most of the time. they have no problem giving there 15 and 16 year old booze. do you ever think before you talk. you make your self look bad
on December 19,2012 | 06:47PM
false wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on December 19,2012 | 10:04PM
8082062424 wrote:
Sorry nope hate take energy and energy is wasted on hate. I am tired of allie make believe friends and her false statements. from the start when this story was printed it stated locals. Locals come in many races not just one. But every comment she posted she stated Hawaiians.
on December 20,2012 | 07:57AM
Kaluu wrote:
Racism, alive and well in Hawaii. Sad story. Many in alll large racial/cultural groups guilty for many years. The more educated people of all groups seem to be much more tolerant of racial/cultural differences. The underclass does its usual, ugly thing and teaches it to little children.
on December 19,2012 | 05:28AM
Sid_Hartha wrote:
Agreed. EDUCATE!
on December 19,2012 | 05:46AM
Tahitigirl55 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on December 19,2012 | 11:57AM
PabloWegesend wrote:
Tahitigirl55's attitude is part of the problem, not the solution.
on December 19,2012 | 02:25PM
Leinanij wrote:
Marshallese were used as human subjects by the United States to research the effects of radioactive fallout. So glad to know Tahiti is right in line with the French's 193 Pacific nuclear tests. What say you if they decide to bomb Hawai'i?
on December 19,2012 | 03:34PM
8082062424 wrote:
Just because this country did that horrid thing dose not mean everyone in Hawaii has to pay for it. I know folks from Tahiti and Samoa and none behave or act like this group dose. Nor are they disliked. so just maybe the problem lays with this races actions and behavioural habbits
on December 19,2012 | 07:06PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Yes, they lack most social skills and refuse to adapt to this environment. Th US government may owe them something but 5 generations later the debt has been paid. Cut their line and either they follow the rules of society or they go back to where they come from. Stop the moneys, they will leave, problem solved.
on December 19,2012 | 07:49PM
allie wrote:
Lot of mutual hatred between hawaiians and Micros. Talk to Mayor Wright Housing security. Wake up you sleepy people
on December 19,2012 | 04:17PM
8082062424 wrote:
there you go again more Bs. most in Mayor Wright Housing are Samoan, Tongan . and Vietnamese make up a a big part of it. Now you have huge numbers Micros in there. all the other races do not get along with them. are you going to blame all the other races For being wrong. In fact Samoans and Tongans do not get along . When the micros start problems that one of the few times those two races will come together. Go talk to social workers and they will tell you how they dread even going to the homes of them. More so at KPT where they turn the stairs into there bathroom and i do not only mean pee. Even oceanic cable do not want to go out there to provide service. This race has to learn to live by the laws and rules all other races here have to live by. there pros at playing the victims
on December 19,2012 | 06:57PM
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