Students encouraged to participate in March 14 walkout — with caveats

  • Chad “Keone” Farias and Christina Kishimoto.

The state Department of Education is advising schools statewide to create a “designated walkout area” for students who want to participate in upcoming protests against gun violence, Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said in a Friday letter to parents.

On March 14, students throughout the country are announcing plans on social media to participate in National School Walkout Day. The protest is slated to begin at 10 a.m. and will last for 17 minutes to honor the lives of the 17 people who died in the recent school shooting at a Florida high school.


On April 20, a second protest is planned at 10 a.m. on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado.

The DOE “supports students’ constitutional rights to a peaceful assembly and free expression,” Kishimoto said in the letter, though “disorderly conduct that disrupts school operations is not acceptable and will be appropriately handled in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct.”

Additionally, Kishimoto said students who leave campus during the event will be marked with an “unexcused tardiness or absence.” She said participation in any walkout is voluntary and the DOE advises schools to “encourage students to use the time to share ideas for improving campus safety, security and culture.”

Some schools on the mainland have said they will penalize students who are part of the protests. A school district in Texas said it will suspend any student who participates in a walkout.

“That’s exactly the opposite of what we want to do,” Chad “Keone” Farias, superintendent of the Ka‘u-Keaau-Pahoa Complex Area, said Friday about the penalties.

Farias said he’s not sure how many students locally plan to participate.

He said East Hawaii principals were sent guidance about the event and are being encouraged to respect students’ right to participate while also making sure any planned protest activities are safe and don’t break school rules.

“The last thing we want to do is discipline,” Farias said. … “As educators, we want to respect that kids have this right to participate in this responsible civic activity to voice their concerns that we need to bring school violence into the light. This is not a place students should feel unsafe. This is where they should feel most safe.”

Hilo High School is encouraging students to gather on the campus patio during the designated walkout time, Principal Bob Dircks told the Tribune-Herald on Friday.

He said students will be encouraged to write out any comments or concerns about gun violence and read them aloud — if they wish — during the event, which falls during Hilo High’s lunch recess.

He said Hilo High’s walkout is largely being organized by a student leader.

“So, it will be a means to share their thoughts and their voices, and it will be peaceful and won’t take away from academic time,” Dircks said. “Which I think is a very good call on the students’ part. … But this has got to be student driven. It can’t be something the adults come up with.”

Other principals said Friday they are discussing walkout events with their student leadership and hope to have plans in place next week.

Kishimoto said in the letter there have been more than a dozen school threats in Hawaii since January. She said none of those were credible and the majority were made on social media.


Pahoa, Keaau and Konawaena high schools were among campuses that received threats. The threats spurred police to increase their presence at the high schools.

Email Kirsten Johnson at

  1. Keoni Yamada March 3, 2018 6:26 am

    “The last thing we want to do is discipline,”
    Of course not. That would be judgemental.
    That’s how Cruz was able to pass a background check & legally get a gun.
    He was never arrested, despite 23 sheriff visits and 4 school suspensions.
    Progressive-fascism is dangerous, political correctness kills.
    Maybe these progressive-fascist administrators should give these useful-idiot human sacrifice bloody shirt waving kids uniform brown shirts & arm bands, too?

    Meaningful self defense is a human right.
    When seconds count, police are minutes away.
    Arm yourselves, get trained, protect yourself & your loved ones.
    No one else will.

    1. Corporate Hack March 3, 2018 7:59 am

      Anti-Christians…..thats the American Conservative today.
      They say and do the opposite of what Christ Taught, like Keoni Yamada.
      The reason 25,000 Americans are killed is because of guns. No guns, no more gun deaths. Pretty simple, but then again, we are talking about the intelligence and empathy of a Conservative.
      ISIS = 0 Americans Killed in America
      NRA Punks = 25,000 Dead Americans every year.
      Conservatives = American Terrorists.

    2. Corporate Hack March 3, 2018 8:02 am

      The Real Reason Conservatives love guns is because they are afraid of getting their pansy butts kicked.
      Take away their guns, slap them in the face when they act out, and they run home crying to mamma.
      There would be no school shootings if there were no guns to shoot with.
      What a simple concept.

  2. REV. JAMES G. BORDEN March 3, 2018 8:20 am

    Gun Free Zones is like shooting fish in a barrel!

    1. Corporate Hack March 3, 2018 9:05 am

      20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar

    2. Corporate Hack March 3, 2018 9:06 am

      11 “Both prophet and priest are godless; even in my temple I find their wickedness,” declares the LORD.

    3. Corporate Hack March 3, 2018 9:07 am

      46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

    4. Corporate Hack March 3, 2018 9:09 am

      Titus 1:16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

      This describes the Anti-Christians infesting America right now, or Conservatives as they call themselves.

    5. Corporate Hack March 3, 2018 9:12 am

      Matthew 23:28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

    6. Corporate Hack March 3, 2018 10:07 am

      A uniformed sheriff’s deputy on duty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School failed to take action against the shooter, even though he was armed.
      17 kids dead.

  3. REV. JAMES G. BORDEN March 3, 2018 10:34 am

    What motivates a person’s heart is what makes a firearm dangerous or a protector of human life.

    1. Corporate Hack March 3, 2018 5:54 pm

      the orlando mass murderer was a licensed Armed Security Guard.
      He killed more people than would have fit in that church.

    2. Corporate Hack March 3, 2018 5:55 pm

      NRA = 25,000 EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

    3. Corporate Hack March 3, 2018 5:56 pm

      Titus 1:16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

      This describes the Anti-Christians infesting America right now, the Hypocrites Jesus warned us about.
      As you lie on your deathbed, realization of your afterlife will dawn on you, and you will leave this earth in horror as you descend to your eternity.

  4. Hilo Jack March 3, 2018 10:52 am

    Republican no longer need fear 2018 elections.


    They need fear the Class of 2018.

  5. ujijin March 5, 2018 3:11 pm

    This really seems to me like the State of Hawaii really pushing students to make political statements on political issues…MINORS, CHILDREN pushed by the State to make political statements. Voluntary or not, the herd mentality will take over and those informed students who don’t want to participate will face serious pressure. This should be viewed as a crime! Thank God for private schools in Hawaii…but they push their students toward the left as well.

    1. Punahou Walkout For Gun Reform March 7, 2018 9:37 am

      We are not being pushed. Not by schools, anyway. Nobody is being pressured to do the walkout if they don’t want to, nobody is being pressured to join the walkout without knowing what it’s about. (if you have information that says otherwise, I’d love to see it.) The only thing pushing us is that we’re done with the baseless and often preventable violence.

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