DOE’s response to bullying of students outrageous

After reading “Defender of the defenseless” (The Maui News, March 10), I don’t know what was the most upsetting to me – there was so much.

First, there is the fact reported that an autistic child was badly beaten on the Kamali’i Elementary School playground. Second, that the child’s 9-year-old defender was beaten several times by the same bullies because she had dared to defend the autistic child. Or third, the cold, by-the-book email response to the expressed concern of her father for the continued bullying of his daughter.

The Department of Education spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz’s response sounded like a quick copy and paste citing “Chapter 19” disciplinary actions and how seriously the DOE takes reports of bullying. On top of this, there was the very upsetting statement the girl’s father and his mother were turned away when they offered to help serve as playground monitors, and that her father was threatened with being reported to Child Protective Services if he pulled his daughter out of school when her beatings did not stop.

What kind of school are they running down there? Is the only protection that of the privacy of bullies? This is outrageous and disturbing. What steps are being taken to protect the rights of students to be in a safe and secure learning environment? What consequences are accruing to the bullies? Such behaviors must be stopped, now, not later, and not after more study.

Lina F. White