HONOLULU (KHON2) — According to a letter sent out to parents this week, both Waianae and Castle High Schools have decided to cancel Castle’s homecoming football game set to take place on Friday. The letter said, “while we believe in the power of athletics to unite and inspire, we must prioritize the well-being of our students, staff and families above all else.”
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“My concern is mainly for the safety of the students,” said Rep. Scot Matayoshi, (D) Kaneohe, Maunawili. “There have been legitimate threats to both campuses, both Castle and Waianae.”
Leading up to the decision to cancel the game was two lockdowns. One on Thursday at Castle High School where the Department of Education said a group of unauthorized students threatened students on campus. It cancelled all outdoor activities while police investigated. Then on Friday, Waianae High School sent out this letter, informing parents about a potential threat to campus.
“That threat was taken seriously like all threats should and with this game there’s still threat of violence present,” said Rep. Cedric Gates (D) Waianae, Makaha.
Castle parents KHON2 spoke with said they’re concerned after the recent events and are glad the homecoming game is cancelled.
“I’m glad they cancelled it, because we don’t want nobody to get hurt,” said Dennis Obatay, parent of a Castle High School student. “There’s so much students over there, they don’t know what they carrying in the backpack you know like guns or knives.”
“I think the school administration did the right thing, given the past history of violent events happening on or around castle’s campus,” Rep. Matayoshi said.
Meanwhile, experts said it will take a whole community to address threats of violence in schools.
“It is the school, the parent, the children but also aunty, uncle the extended families that when we do see an upset child or any behavioral changes whether they’re shutdown or externalizing it and acting out we ask that, child hey are you okay,” said Dr. Allana Coffee, a psychologist.
There will be a sign waving at Waianae High School on Friday to stand against violence. The Department of Education said in a statement:
“The Department supports the decision of Castle Principal Tyrell and Waianae Principal Pikelny because student and staff safety is our highest priority. We are working closely with both schools to address the safety concerns. Disclosing additional details could further compromise safety at this time.”