Kaunakakai Elementary Learns About Bullying at School

February 27, 2018, 3:19 PM HST · Updated February 27, 3:20 PM
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Kaunakakai Elementary School students Madisyn and Elijah Howe enjoyed the presentation by Second Circuit Judge Adrianne Heely, and sheriffs Andrew Bayron and Kevin Vaivai. Photo Courtesy

Students at Kaunakakai Elementary School on Moloka‘i recently learned an invaluable lesson from law enforcement officials on how to prevent bullying from taking hold of its campus.

Second Circuit Judge Adrianne Heely, Detective Michael McCutcheon of the Maui Police Department, and Sheriffs Andrew Bayron and Kevin Vaivai visited the school to talk about bullying to over 300 of its students and faculty.

Nearly 90% of students and teachers raised their hands when Judge Heely, a District Family Court judge who hears cases on Moloka‘i, asked “how many of you know someone who has been bullied?”

Judge Heely then asked students and teachers to pay close attention to three short videos created by the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of Maui. “Listen carefully to the words of real bullies and what could’ve been done and how it made them or others feel.” The students noticed that the voices in the videos were both male and female, leading Judge Heely to say, “Bullies come in all types of people, boys and girls.”

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Judge Heely asked the students what to do if they witness bullying. “Speak up to a teacher, counselor, or adult,” said one student.

Detective McCutcheon asked the students to make a pledge to “be the change” and report bullying, excessive teasing, or hitting. He said that words and actions can hurt and can be against the law. Judge Heely then spoke about the golden rule—treating and speaking to others as you would want to be spoken to and treated. Murmurs of, “yes” and “amen” were heard throughout the room.

Sheriff Bayron then spoke about his younger years and how he chose to be the peacemaker, standing up to bullies and advocating for more reasonable ways to solve differences. He said he was recognized with a Peacemaker Award for his efforts.

Judge Heely reminded the students that assemblies like this are important and that school principal Daniel Espaniola says his “primary objective is to ensure each student at Kaunakakai Elementary School receives a high quality education in a safe learning environment.”


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