HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu City Council is setting its sights on preventing bullying on city property and in city programs.
That’s the subject of a new bill scheduled to be heard in the council’s meeting Wednesday, Nov. 2.
Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You
The idea is to match Hawaii’s priorities with city policy, and give keiki who are bullied a way to share how they feel without retaliation on city property or online.
“The whole thing is to make sure that the community knows and people that are sending their kids to the Summer Fun programs that the city is not going to tolerate it. Especially on city grounds,” Honolulu City Councilmember Augie Tulba, who introduced the bill, said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 20% of high school students have reported being the subject of bullying on school property; and in the last year, one in six high school students report being bullied electronically.
Councilmember Tulba said it is a big problem and one that hits close to home for his family.
“It only takes a few minutes — just ask your kids what’s happening,” Tulba said. “One of the things that I’m thankful for is that my wife was aware of what was happening with my daughter when she got bullied early on. So, it was easy to, like, jump in and try to get the help early on before it escalated.”
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration is pushing for the legislation to go through.
“We were looking at where Honolulu was on the equality municipal index and it ended up that we were 60, which means we’re a D, close to failing,” Honolulu Managing Director Michael Formby testified to the council in a meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 5.
The bill requires each city agency or department to create “a clear policy for identifying, reporting, responding to and preventing bullying and retaliation.”
There are also to be procedures for anonymous reporting of incidents. Consequences may include being banned from city property and programs, as well as permit revocation. Other options include providing counseling for both the victim and the bully.
The proposal suggests compiling data with an annual report of bullying offenses from every department.
Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8
“We’re going to be taking those first steps and making sure that we get good data so that we can really, maybe, come up with a better plan,” Tulba said.