Ask The Mayor: What’s Being Done About Bullying?
Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his staff.
Q: What is being done about (Cyber) Bullying in Hawaiʻi?
A: Mahalo for this question because I take bullying very seriously, but I know it is a community issue that we must all work together to solve.
First off, families can talk with their children about respecting others, even those different from themselves, and schools can reinforce that message. Students should be taught to be respectful, responsible and compassionate learners.
Each school and community is different, so different approaches can be used. This includes peer mediation and partnering with community agencies, health and wellness providers, policing and community policing groups, legal advisers and cultural practitioners.
If an incident does occur, the victim should immediately report it to a trusted adult. School principals are obligated to investigate and school staff are responsible for providing support to the victim.
All offenses are entered into the Hawaiʻi Department of Education’s student support database, which allows schools to identify, monitor and track student concerns over time. School staff also provide support to victims and bullies to address ongoing conditions that may have contributed to the bullying incident to help prevent future ones.
These conditions may include issues at home, stress, abuse, and health, social-emotional and behavioral health issues.
One of our newest tools we have to address bullying is the Speak Now Hawaiʻi Department of Education phone app for reporting incidents of bullying. This app was rolled out to intermediate school students on Jan. 31.
I’m also excited to report that it will be available to high school students in September and to elementary school students in September 2020. To download the app, visit the Apple App Store or Google Play.
For more information on the Department of Education’s anti-bullying work, visit AntiBullyingWork.org.
Want to Ask The Mayor?
Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino by email at [email protected], by phone at (808) 270-7855 or via mail to 200 S. High Street, ninth floor, Wailuku, Hawaiʻi 96793.
Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.