State should be liable for failing to protect student

I am glad to read the expressions of outrage by many other readers condemning the actions of some children at Kamali’i Elementary School who beat and intimidated two other students (The Maui News, March 10).

A March letter writer called it assault – my feelings exactly, which I conveyed to the state superintendent of the Department of Education. Had this happened to an adult victim, assault charges would have been filed and the offenders prosecuted.

The state should be held liable for failure to protect the children under its care. Historically it has done a bad job of that. When I was in the public school system in Hawaii more than 50 years ago, we had to be careful where we went on campus, for fear of the “tough kids.” Nothing has changed.

The problem is, nothing of real consequence results from aggressive, offensive and violent behavior. This is the reason I did not send my own child to public school. Instead, she went safely, expensively, all the way through private school.

I understand the mandates of the public system, but I don’t understand why the behavior problems that are well addressed in the private schools can’t be addressed as well in the public schools.

The system has become too bureaucratic and cumbersome, and no one wants to take responsibility. Everyone just points to Chapter 19. Well guess what – if this bullying is still going on, Chapter 19 isn’t working. And this has got to stop.

Paula Loomis