Categorized | Education

Hawai’i DOE celebrates Unity Day to promote safe and inclusive school environments

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hawai’i State Department of Education (HIDOE) celebrated Unity Day today. All students and staff members were encouraged to wear orange to stand in solidarity in support of safe and inclusive schools and communities. This year’s theme is, “Together with Aloha, United for Kindness, Acceptance, and Inclusion.” All schools received a Unity Day banner to display on campus and orange wristbands for all students with “Unite for Kindness, Acceptance and Aloha” inscribed on it.

“As we continue to work collaboratively to deliver equitable access to quality public education, providing a safe and nurturing learning environment is foundational. Bullying goes beyond the classroom and school campus, and it is important that we as a community stand together to stop it,” said Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “The Department is committed to fostering a culture of acceptance in schools statewide, rooted in our Nā Hopena A’o (HĀ) framework.”

October is National Bullying Prevention Month and Unity Day is its signature event, both founded by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. The Center actively takes a stand to prevent childhood bullying and provides resources for students, parents, educators and community members.

Bullying prevention starts with early intervention. Research has shown that having a school-wide Social Emotional Learning program in place and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports builds a positive school climate, where everyone feels accepted and valued.

“All schools have bullying prevention models and programs in place and are moving to a multi-tiered system of support, a framework designed to meet the range of social, emotional and behavioral needs of our students,” said Assistant Superintendent Heidi Armstrong, Office of Student Support Services. “There is a concerted focus systemwide on proactive practices to support positive behaviors as well as approaches that resolve conflict, prevent harm and build relationships.”

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