HONOLULU (KHON2) — A disturbing video of a young special needs child being bullied has been circulating on social media. The incident, once again shows how important it is for parents and caretakers to talk to children about bullying
“The girl came up behind her, from there dropped her bag grabbed my daughter by the hair and hit her in the face and kept hitting her,” said Yvette Uekawa, the mother of an autistic child that was a victim of bullying.
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Uekawa described how her 11-year-old daughter was beaten up by a girl the same age after school last Thursday.
The altercation happened right across the street from Honouliuli Middle School, where her daughter goes to school. Uekawa said she contacted the police and the Honolulu Police Department confirmed that the case is classified as 3rd-degree assault.
In a letter sent out to parents Wednesday, Honouliuli Middle School Principal Todd Fujimori acknowledged the incident and said:
“We do not condone such behavior. But because this incident occurred off campus, the school does not have jurisdiction to enforce any Department of Education policies in this matter.”
Uekawa said she’s angry and devastated for her daughter.
“The fact that she’s special needs and she’s autistic, I know how hard it is for her to regulate her emotions and understand the world around her,” she explained. “This is just unfathomable for her to have to face.”
Uekawa said she wants justice and plans to pursue legal action.
This and several other recent cases of bullying highlight the need for education and awareness.
Clinical psychologist Doug Schwartzsmith said there are things adults can do to prevent things like this from happening.
First and foremost, he said they should talk to kids to see if anything is amiss.
“Bullies are typically — they’re not happy kids,” Schwartzsmith said. “An unhappy kid is going to act out somehow some way under pressure. And this is what happens when it goes off the rails.”
Schwartzsmith said there are warning signs to look for that could indicate a child might bully someone:
- Trouble sleeping
- Breaking or throwing things
- Refusing to do normal activities
And Schwartzsmith said the signs a child is being bullied may be similar because sometimes the bullied, becomes the bully.
They may have trouble concentrating, mood swings, depression and refuse to go to school.
Click here to see the DOE antibullying information
To learn more about the BRAVE program click here.
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Honolulu City Councilmember Augie Tulba, whose daughter runs the nonprofit BRAVE that goes into schools to talk about bullying said, “At the end of the day, parents, we need to be involved in our children and guardians. We need to ask them what’s going on. And they gotta feel like there’s a sense of trust, because that’s where it starts.”