Portions of this section were adopted from stopbullying.gov, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
At Punahou, different perspectives and life experiences are not only embraced but celebrated, as key contributions to our diverse and inclusive community. Every person at Punahou has the right to feel safe and respected.
Acts of discrimination, hate or hostility have no place in the Punahou community. We believe it is the School’s responsibility to promote an environment of mutual respect, tolerance, civility and common decency. We do not allow members of our community to cause physical, emotional, mental or spiritual harm to others.
“Bullying” means any written, verbal, graphic or physical act that a student or group of students exhibits toward other particular student(s) and the behavior causes mental or physical harm to the other student(s); and is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment for the other student(s).
Bullying is the unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying can continue over time, is often hidden from adults, and usually continues if no action is taken. Bullying has far-reaching effects that may affect the victim, as well as the perpetrator, long after leaving Punahou.
Punahou promotes an inclusive, positive and caring environment for its students. Conduct or behavior that constitutes bullying, either on or off campus, is not tolerated. Acts of aggression, intimidation, violence or the threat of violence are violations of this Code of Conduct and warrant review and possible disciplinary action.
Examples of bullying behavior include:
- Assaulting or causing any bodily harm or offensive unwanted touching
- Threatening to cause bodily harm or eliciting fear, significant emotional distress, discomfort or embarrassment
- Making fun of or teasing with the intent to evoke contempt toward another individual
- Any action that significantly damages another’s reputation
- Carrying weapons
- Participating in fights and hazing
“Cyberbullying” means electronically transmitted acts, i.e., internet, cell phone, personal digital assistant (PDA), or wireless hand-held device, that a student has exhibited toward another student or employee of the department which causes mental or physical harm to the other student(s) or school personnel and is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment. Unlike face-to-face bullying, cyberbullying can be conducted 24/7, at school or at home, making it difficult for victims to find relief.
Cyberbullying has far-reaching effects that may affect the victim as well as the perpetrator long after leaving Punahou. We strongly urge all members of Punahou’s community to act with respect and good judgment in all their online activities.
Examples of cyberbullying include a pattern of:
- Posting comments or rumors about someone online that are mean, hurtful or embarrassing
- Sharing a mean or hurtful picture or video online or by text
- Pretending to be someone else online in order to solicit or post personal or false information about someone else
- Creating a mean or hurtful webpage or social media profile about someone
- Doxxing, a form of online harassment used to exact revenge and to threaten and destroy the privacy of individuals by making their personal information public, including addresses, social security, credit card and phone numbers, links to social media accounts and other private data
- Sexting, which is defined as the production, possession or dissemination of sexual materials, including suggestive text messages, sexually explicit or sexually suggestive images or video via mobile device or computer
Hate speech is communication meant to demean, insult or intimidate a person or group of persons on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability or any other similar ground.
Punahou values every member of our school community and does not tolerate hate speech. Language, actions, behaviors and symbols meant to incite violence, attack or demean protected groups are strictly prohibited.
Students should be aware that sending, sharing, viewing or merely possessing sexually explicit photos, images and messages, text messages, emails or other sexually explicit or suggestive materials via a computer, digital device or cell phone (commonly known as “sexting”) may subject a student to criminal charges under federal and state laws. The types of crimes that can be implicated by sexting include child pornography, obscenity laws, harassment, indecent exposure and endangerment. In addition, using a digital device or computer to solicit a minor under the age of 16 to meet up with the intent to engage in a sexual act can also lead to criminal charges, even if it is mutually voluntary between the two students.
Punahou School does not tolerate sexting activity, and it is cause for disciplinary action up to and including a requirement to withdraw. If sexting is suspected, the school can seize a student’s cell phone, computer or other electronic device and will turn the device over to law enforcement authorities. Any student, faculty, staff member or parent with questions or concerns about sexting, including being the unwilling recipient of a sexual image, should speak with the student’s dean or other school administrator.
Hazing refers to any activity expected of an individual joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm to that person, regardless of the individual’s willingness to participate. Punahou does not tolerate any form of hazing in our community.
Hazing activities are generally considered to be physically, psychologically or emotionally abusive, hazardous and/or sexually violating, but they can take other forms as well. Whenever anyone in the Punahou community is intentionally made to feel ostracized or "lower" than their peers, this could be considered hazing.
Some examples include, but are not limited to:
- Deprivation of privileges granted to other members
- Socially isolating new members
- Name calling; assigning status and titles; forced servitude
- Physical abuse or endangerment
- Verbal abuse, threats or implied threats
- Asking new members to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire
- Forced or coerced consumption of alcohol, drugs or vile substances
- Beating, paddling, branding, burning or other forms of assault
- Public nudity; sexual simulations
- Forcing members to engage in illegal activity
If a Punahou student becomes aware of any form of hazing involving anyone in the Punahou community, they must take immediate and proactive action to stop it and use the reporting procedures described below.
How to Report Bullying, Sexting and Hazing
Students and others in the Punahou community are required to report and consult with adults, including deans, administrative deans, counselors, principals and administrators, any time they feel bullied or harassed, are subjected to hazing or if they witness any form of bullying, harassment or hazing on their peers.
The school has procedures in place to respond to and investigate such complaints and will take necessary action to stop such bullying, harassment and hazing, including appropriate disciplinary action.
Retaliation is defined as any form of materially adverse action such as intimidation, reprisal or harassment directed against an individual who reports bullying or who provides information during an investigation of bullying. Retaliation is unacceptable and constitutes a violation of the Code of Conduct.
Students and former students or their parents or caregivers may report directly to local child welfare and law enforcement agencies, or call 911, if they believe that a child is in danger. Punahou also offers a 24-hour Community Hotline
, where students, parents, faculty, staff and administrators can submit a report about health and safety issues.