Oahu Principals Focus Attention on School Security

Student violence inside the schools grabs attention of police, school officials


HONOLULU -- Recent student fights at four Oahu high schools indicate that school principals should pay more attention to campus security, state education officials said.

Clayton Fujie, assistant schools superintendent, told principals to review school procedures on preventing and containing student disputes.

About 50 principals from nearly all Oahu's high schools attended the closed-door meeting Tuesday at Radford High School to discuss school violence.

Fujie likened the message to an elevation of the Homeland Security alert.

"We're just being proactive and we want to make sure everyone from the principal on down understands their roles," he said.

Principals from Radford, Waipahu, Nanakuli and Waianae high schools all discussed recent violence at their schools and plan to cooperate on safety measures among themselves and Oahu high schools and with the Board of Education.

The rash of recent fights began with a post-basketball game tussle almost two weeks ago at Radford, followed by several days of racially charged altercations.

Last week, five Waipahu High students were arrested and a police officer was assaulted after a brawl on Thursday, and a confrontation between three students at Waianae grew to about 15 students.

Eight Nanakuli students were arrested Monday after a fight and later a clash with police at the high school, capping several days of student clashes there.

The fights at Radford, Waipahu, Waianae, and Nanakuli appear to be unrelated, Department of Education spokeswoman Sandra Goya said.

State Rep. Michael Kahikina, D-Kalaeloa-Nanakuli, said the fights represent a broader societal breakdown.

"We've always had events and incidents, and we'll continue to," said Glenn Tatsuno, safety and security administrator for the Department of Education. "The key is really anticipating these things and having a good plan."