HONOLULU (KHON2) — A new proposal at the Hawaii State Legislature is looking to establish a pilot program for a team that would be trained to look for and handle a potential school threat before it happens.
“This was an idea that was born from community feedback to help try to reduce the amount of violence in our schools,” said Rep. Ryan Yamane, who introduced the bill and represents Mililani, Waipio Gentry and Waikele.
He said staff would be trained to learn how to detect a threat. The training would be done by the Department of Emergency’s Fusion Center, which provides information and expertise on how to detect a threat.
“[They would] offer training to school staff and teachers about what to look for. What are the signs of, you know, anger, bullying, violence, and then also come up with a plan on how they can work together to address these types of situations,” said Yamane.
They would also set up protocols for getting important information to parents out quickly.
“One of the frustrations that parents have is not getting info quick enough or accurate, and so the hope is then with something like this, with outside entities assisting, we can make sure the right information, the most accurate and the most timely can get out into the community,” said Yamane.
He said they would work with other organizations to provide additional services like counseling to students.
“For students, especially, it’s a little bit more difficult because sometimes they don’t even know their own emotions and sometimes their emotions go up and down which is part of growing up as a teenager,” said Yamane.
“So the initial idea would be not only training the staff. For example the Red Cross has mental health counseling [that] could be contacted that could be already integrated with the DOE system of counseling,” said Yamane.
The proposal would also set aside funding to set up an anonymous reporting system so people can report threats and a database that would collect these reports along with others from the police.
“My hope is that with all that is going on in our communities, that people will understand the value of a program like this, and how it will actually help protect and address some of those issues happening to its students,” said Yamane.
As for how much funding the program could receive and when it could start, that still needs to be decided at the legislature.