Your Views for May 2

The system failed

This is a letter of concern regarding the case of 9-year-old, Shaelynn Lehano-Stone.

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In 2016, this poor child died from starvation and failure to thrive. At the time of her death, she weighed only 45 pounds, whereas a normal 9-year-old should weigh at least 60-70 pounds.

Records showed that she was removed from her parents at birth in 2006 and placed in foster care. Her brother was also removed prior due to abuse and placed into the Child Welfare Services system. Shaelynn was returned at the age of 2 to her mother, and three months later was removed again due to abuse and neglect.

How is it that CWS could not confirm these reports and closed their investigation? In 2009, the abuse was finally confirmed, and Tiffany Stone relinquished her rights to her mother, Henrietta, to care for Shaelynn. In 2015, Henrietta arranged to have her homeschooled. Astonishingly, it was approved. Another huge mistake by the Department of Education, approving this arrangement with her signature on one piece of paper.

On June 28, 2016, emergency crews arrived at their apartment and found Shaelynn unconscious. She died a few hours later. Clearly this was a death that could have been prevented.

There were so many red flags. CWS should have had this child removed from her parents at birth due to her brother being removed and placed into care for the same reasons, as well as for failure to conduct a thorough investigation.

The Department of Education should also be held liable for her death. Had they dug a little deeper and changed the policy and rules for homeschooling, Shaelynn would possibly be with us today.

I am pleading with you to please help me change the laws or policies to protect our keiki. Be the voice that opens the ears of those who will listen. Please help me to rescue the Shaelynns and Peter Boy Kemas of this world who did not deserve to die a senseless life.

These are the children who should have been able to live a life surrounded by family and/or caregivers that will love and protect them like any normal child deserves to.

Mary L. Ramos

Hilo

Bittersweet?

Rarely seen today are shopping carts being sanitized by store clerks, or store clerks standing next to hand-sanitizer pumps making sure one sanitizes before entering. No need to stand in line before entering a store.

Now, there are no limitations on the amount of hand-sanitizers, disposable masks and gloves for purchase. No more roadside mask vendors, now a thing of the past.

Some restaurants are beginning to pack all available tables with customers, and are no longer taking your temperature at the door.

More and more, there are people in public without masks, students returning to school, airline fares are slowly increasing, movie theatres reopening, and many other COVID-19 mandates are now fading away.

Remember the catch phrase, the new norm?

Soon returning, the old norm.

Bittersweet, though.

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Rick LaMontagne

Hilo

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