By Wendy Osher
The state Department of Education launched a campaign today to discourage bullying at Hawaii’s public schools.
The video campaign, produced by students from Waianae High School’s Searider Productions, features University of Hawai’i athletes Kanani Danielson (Wahine Volleyball), Richard Torres (Football), Jessica Iwata (Wahine Softball) and Miah Ostrowski (Football and Men’s Basketabll).
The featured athletes explain the dangers of bullying and encourages students and communities to help promote campus safety.
The statewide video campaign was announced today by Governor Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii State Board of Education member Keith Amemiya and Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.
The PSA spots, which were funded by First Hawaiian Bank, will air on numerous TV outlets, including KGMB, KHNL, and Oceanic Time Warner telecasts of UH and high school sports throughout the school year. UH also will showcase the PSAs on the scoreboard during games at Aloha Stadium and the Stan Sheriff Center.
“We will make our schools safe for our children so they can concentrate on learning,” said Governor Abercrombie. “We are addressing bullying in all forms and are committed to working together so that every school has an anti-bullying plan,” he said.
School Superintendent Matayoshi said the state will work towards improved data gathering, professional development, and proactive involvement with students.
“As citizens of Hawaii, we must all do our part to prevent and eliminate bullying. Improving the schools and communities in which we live is a shared responsibility,” she said.
The PSAs come as the DOE and BOE are working on a comprehensive “peaceful schools” program, with annual training provided to faculty, staff and students.
“Although the schools are fully committed to curbing bullying, they can’t do it alone,” said BOE member Amemiya. “Bullying isn’t just a school problem. Everyone, from family members to friends and the entire community at large needs to work together to curb bullying,” he said.
The item is expected to surface for continued discussion at the Board’s General Business meeting this afternoon.
*** Supporting information courtesy Hawai’i Department of Education.