State briefs for August 18

Maui clear of rapid ohia death

WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — A fungal disease has not been rediscovered after being found on Maui for the first time earlier this year, officials said.

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The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources did not find evidence of the disease known as rapid ohia death after completing air surveys Friday.

A single ohia tree was afflicted early July with Ceratocystis huliohia on a private beach about 53 mile east of Wailuku, officials said.

The tree tested positive for the less aggressive level of the fungus, which also plagued a tree on Oahu around the same time, officials said.

“On the bright side for our island in particular is that most ohia is on protected lands and in high elevations,” said Jeff Bagshaw, communications and outreach specialist at the department.

Ohia grow on about 125 square miles in Maui, “which is a lot more than people know or assume,” Bagshaw said.

Rapid Ohia Death has affected vast amounts of land and thousands of trees on Hawaii Island since its detection in 2014, and the more aggressive fungus was responsible for killing 90% of the trees on the Big Island, officials said.

School board OKs misconduct code revisions

HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii school board has voted to elevate the seriousness of high school bullying and harassment as disciplinary offenses, officials said.

The Hawaii state Board of Education passed a revised misconduct code Thursday that included making bullying, cyberbullying and harassment Class A offenses and the most serious of four levels of misconduct.

Individual school principals still have the power to determine the consequences of these actions.

“The discipline that is issued is not predetermined by the class of offense that is issued,” said Heidi Armstrong, assistant superintendent of the Office of Student Support Services. “That is uniquely on a student-by-student, case-by-case basis.”

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Principals are required to consider five factors, including the intent of the offender and the severity of the offense, school officials said.

School-level investigations are to be completed within five days, and both parties are to be notified with further action to “preserve the safety of everyone involved,” board members said.

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