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Waianae-Castle prep football game canceled following threats

A football game between Castle and Waianae high schools that was scheduled for Friday has been canceled to “prioritize the safety and well-being of our students,” the principals of both schools announced in a joint letter.

The game was supposed to be part of Castle High’s homecoming week activities.

The announcement came in the wake of threats made recently toward both schools, although school and state officials have not said who made the threats, nor have they released details about the content of the threats.

Castle High School was put on lockdown at around 3 p.m. Thursday for about 20 minutes.

On Friday, Waianae High School “received information about a potential threat,” Principal Ray Pikelny-Cook said in a letter to parents that was posted on the school’s website titled, “Parent Notification — Social Media Threat.”

Hawaii Department of Education spokesperson Nanea Kalani said Monday that the Waianae case did not involve Castle.

On Monday, a letter addressed to “Castle High and Waianae High Football Ohana” and signed by Pikelny-Cook and Castle Principal Bernadette Tyrell was posted on both schools’ website, saying that the decision to cancel the game “was jointly made by the administrations of both schools and was not made lightly. While we believe in the power of athletics to unite and inspire, we must prioritize the safety and well-being of our students, staff and families above all else.

“We understand the disappointment and frustration this may cause,” the letter continued. “Please know that we remain committed to our student-athletes and the importance of athletics in our schools. Thank you for your understanding. We value your partnership as we work together to ensure a safe and supportive environment for our students.”

Kalani said the principals, complex area superintendents, school safety administrators and law enforcement are cooperating to keep the schools safe.

State Schools Superintendent Keith Hayashi on Monday said in a statement that that the DOE “supports the decision of Castle Principal Tyrell and Waianae Principal Pikelny because student and staff safety is our highest priority. We are working closely with both schools to address the safety concerns. Disclosing additional details could further compromise safety at this time.”

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