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Campus Safety

Punahou School’s highest priority is ensuring the health, safety and well-being of its community.

Punahou encourages students and parents to talk with teachers, deans, counselors and administrators if they have any concerns or questions regarding their safety or the safety of other students.

If you or a student you know is in an unsafe or challenging situation; experiencing or witnessing drug or alcohol use or addiction; harassment, intimidation or bullying; sexual abuse or harassment; suicidal thoughts, inclinations or actions; or violence or threats of violence, we urge you to notify the School or submit an anonymous report through the Punahou Community Hotline.

List of 2 items.

  • June 18, 2020 - Message from President Mike Latham

    June 18, 2020

    Dear Punahou Community,

    When families enroll their children at Punahou, they are entrusting their care to us, and we must do everything we can to be worthy of that sacred trust. As I wrote to you on April 28, the searing and horrific claims of sexual abuse that have been filed by several of our fellow alumni are a clear call to action. I regret that I cannot discuss the pending litigation, but as Punahou’s president I want you to know that our School is committed to pursuing the highest standards possible to ensure the safety of all who learn, play and grow here.

    To that end, today, I am announcing the creation of the Advisory Council for Student Safety, a group of alumni, parents, and friends of the School, who will review Punahou’s work, identify best practices and discuss strategies for our continuous improvement. Most critically, this group will provide valuable feedback, perspectives and experience as Punahou develops and implements a fully integrated, publicly shared plan to promote student safety. The idea for this body was first brought to me by the alumni who organized the Na Pua o Punahou Facebook group, and I wish to thank them for it. In recruiting the initial members of the Advisory Council, I sought individuals with extensive professional experience and training in survivor advocacy, public health and organizational change, pediatrics, and independent school leadership and I am very grateful for their willingness to serve in this role. 

    Each of these members will serve a two- or three-year voluntary term, lending their considerable talent and expertise to the betterment of our community. We will also create a structure to allow for the nomination of new members in the future and I look forward to talking with and recruiting those who may wish to serve. The group will meet four to six times per year, working directly with administrative leadership and our Community Care Response Team (CCRT), to discuss best practices and provide an external perspective to the School as we develop and implement our plan.

    Punahou has taken important steps in the areas of student safety over the past two years. These include required sexual misconduct training for all faculty and staff; a mandatory reporting policy for allegations of abuse; the creation of a CCRT to ensure that allegations are reported to the police or Child Protective Services; and the establishment of trained positions for Community Care Liaisons within the CCRT who provide direct support to survivors and connect them with vital counseling resources. As I wrote to you in late April, I have also engaged the Freeh Group, a leading consultancy in school safety and security, to conduct a full audit of our work, and we will make those results available publicly.

    Those efforts are an essential start, but now we must build on them to promote a wider culture which fosters healthy behaviors and work to create an environment in which we do everything we can to protect our students and to respond quickly and effectively to incidents if and when they should occur. This will require that we pursue a set of shared values and implement a fully integrated and publicly released plan to ensure accountability and promote student safety across our entire School. We will work toward implementing meaningful cultural shifts that further protect our students and that give them agency over their bodies and minds. Vital elements of this additional, systemic work will include:

    • The further development of age-appropriate health, sexuality and safety education within the curriculum that we teach our students;
    • New approaches to partner with parents and families to provide education and resources so that all in our community understand acceptable boundaries and know how to report concerns;
    • Support for, collaboration with, and opportunities to learn from survivors;
    • Strengthened initiatives for student mental health and wellness;
    • A review of best practices in recruitment, screening, and relevant HR protocols;
    • Steps for data collection, documentation, and regular evaluation.

    Our work, moreover, will need to be continuous and perpetual. A one-off effort will not suffice.

    Thank you very much for your continued engagement on this vital issue. With your support, I am confident that Punahou will meet this challenge and that we will emerge together as a stronger and better school for the benefit of all our children. Nothing, in my view, could be more important.

    With aloha,

    Michael E. Latham, Ph.D. ’86
    President, Punahou School
  • April 28, 2020 - Important Update from Punahou School

    April 28, 2020

    Dear Punahou Community,

    Over the past several days many of you have written to me to express your thoughts, perspectives, and emotions regarding the sexual abuse cases that have been filed by several of our fellow alumni. Some of you have offered support and encouragement, and others have expressed anger, frustration, and deep disappointment. I have endeavored to respond personally to as many of you as I can, but to reach all of you I have also decided to send this letter.

    As Punahou’s new president, I share the feelings that many of you have so clearly conveyed. I am deeply saddened and depressed by the stories told by the survivors. As a father of two teenage daughters, these accounts also leave me at once incensed and horrified. As an alumnus and a former Punahou student athlete, I placed great trust in my teachers and coaches and was fortunate to experience priceless care, guidance, and support. The pain that the survivors have experienced is by contrast searing and awful, and I greatly admire their courage in coming forward now.

    Last summer, I left my career as a college history professor, dean, and vice president and returned to Punahou because I love our school. More than any other institution I have ever been a part of, Punahou has shaped me into the adult that I am, and I am profoundly grateful for that. The steps that Punahou has taken over the past few years, including the implementation of mandatory sexual misconduct training, a mandatory reporting policy for abuse, and the creation of a Student Safety and Security Committee are necessary, but they are not sufficient. Punahou must now define the highest standards possible and hold all of our faculty and staff fully accountable as we fulfill our mission to educate our students in an environment of support, care, and trust.

    The novelist William Faulkner once wrote that “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.” As a lifelong educator and professional historian, those words have often echoed through my mind. I believe they apply to Punahou’s current challenge as well. Many of you have asked why Punahou cannot be more transparent at this time, and you have described your disappointment with communications that leave fundamental questions unanswered. I fully understand that. The fact that we are currently in litigation necessarily constrains us in what we can say, but it doesn’t limit the degree to which I will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of this investigation. To that end, I have engaged the Freeh Group, the nation’s leading consultancy in the areas of school safety and security, whom we have worked with closely over the past two years, to conduct a comprehensive, independent audit of all our policies and practices in student and school safety. We will make the full results public and share them with this community. I also promise you that I will not rest until Punahou has reckoned fully and fearlessly with its past and its responsibilities. Nothing, I believe, will be more important for our future.

    I still believe in a Punahou that educates young women and men who learn how to learn, who become leaders, and who make great contributions to the world acting with compassion, conscience, and commitment. I hope you will join me in the work required to make that Punahou a reality for all our children, and for everyone in our community.

    With aloha,

    Michael E. Latham, Ph.D. ’86
    President, Punahou School

Advisory Council for Student Safety

List of 4 items.

  • Shandis Ching, M.Ed.

    PFA President (Ex-Officio, this position to be held annually by the current PFA President). Hawai‘i Community and Business Development Specialist at Feed the Hunger Foundation. Current Punahou parent.
  • Georgi DeCosta ’93

    Survivor advocate, Na Pua o Punahou Founding Member. Former Windward O‘ahu Program Director, Harold K.L. Castle Foundation.
  • Karen Elizaga, J.D. ’88

    Survivor advocate, author, executive coach. Board Chair of Womankind, an organization that provides support to survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual assault. Former Trustee, Riverdale Country School in New York.
  • Tiffany Farrell ’91

    Child safeguarding liaison. Expertise in developing and monitoring implementation of child safeguarding initiatives as a Trustee at the American School in Japan. Current Punahou parent.

List of 5 items.

  • Catherine Kaho'ohanohano ’75

    Survivor advocate, Na Pua o Punahou Founding Member. Homeless Concerns Resource Teacher for Hawai‘i State Department of Education.
  • Douglas Kwock, MD ’83

    Chief Medical Officer, Pali Momi Medical Center. Hawai‘i Pacific Health leadership and pediatrician with over 20 years of experience. Current Punahou parent.
  • Tyler Ralston, PsyD ’86

    Clinical psychologist focusing on cognitive and behavioral psychology with a strong emphasis on trauma and the treatment of survivors of abuse. Current Punahou parent.
  • Rachael Wong, DrPH ’90

    Founder and Strategic Advisor, One Shared Future. Co-founder, Safe Spaces & Workplaces. Former Director of the Department of Human Services, State of Hawai‘i.
  • Vonceil Yara, MA, AMFT, APCC

    Registered Associate Marriage Family Therapist and Professional Clinical Counselor. Mental Health Counselor Intern. Focusing on work with children and families. Current Punahou parent.

Over the past few years, Punahou has taken significant steps to address student safety, and we are grateful for the dedication that our faculty and staff have put toward this effort.

Working with nationally recognized experts in school safety and security, we have implemented the following:

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  • Community Care Response Team (CCRT)

    The Community Care Liaison (CCL) acts as a support, point of contact, resource and advocate for students who report sexual abuse or harassment.

    A rapid response team of counselors and administrators to report allegations of abuse to the proper authorities
    The Community Care Response Team (CCRT) is responsible for the management of cases related to allegations of abuse and harassment involving members of the Punahou School community. The CCRT is comprised of school principals, deans, faculty members, counselors and other school administrators, including a Community Care Liaison (CCL).

    During the process of addressing a report of abuse, the CCRT will ensure that the victim’s safety is paramount and will provide or make referrals for other types of support as necessary. The team also involves the student’s family as the first line of response in dealing with sensitive matters.

    The CCRT is responsible for:

    • Student Safety: The CCRT will determine if any immediate emergency, medical or legal assistance is required or requested by the student. The CCRT will determine if measures are needed to separate the student and alleged offender and, if so, implement those measures.
    • Student Support and Accommodations: The CCL will establish contact with the student and their family to offer support services that may be appropriate to their situation, and keep the student and family apprised of the status of the school’s response to the report.
    • External Reporting: The CCRT will ensure all mandated reports have been made to the appropriate public agencies.
    • Confidentiality: The CCRT will make every effort to maintain the confidentiality of the report and subsequent investigations – notwithstanding mandatory reporting laws and civil requirements for disclosure – and limit disclosure to those persons with a “need-to-know”.
  • Community Care Liaisons

    The CCL assists students during the course of the CCRT’s response and conclusion of their review and any investigation that is conducted. The CCL also:

    • Takes appropriate measures to protect and assist the student who reports abuse or harassment, including coordinating with local law enforcement and court systems
    • Makes referrals for or facilitates professional school and/or public resources for the student who may need medical or psychological services
    • Informs the student of Punahou’s internal and public mandated reporting obligations
    • Advises students and their families that Punahou may conduct an investigation into their report — notwithstanding the student’s desire to participate
    • Advises students and their families of their right to pursue criminal charges against offenders in cases of child abuse or sexual assault
    • Educates the student on the CCRT’s responsibilities and procedures to address their report
    • Keeps the student and their family informed of CCRT actions and results
    • Informs the student about what constitutes retaliation and how to report it
    • Documents actions taken to support and communicate with the student and their family
  • Safety and Privacy Accommodations

    The CCRT and CCL assist with providing certain accommodations from Punahou School to address safety or privacy concerns, the impact of trauma or stress or scheduling conflicts that arise as a result of judicial or criminal proceedings. Punahou School will ensure that such accommodations are provided where appropriate.

    Common accommodation requests include:

    • Excused absences
    • Extensions on assignments
    • Retroactive or late drops
    • Adjustments in schedules or locations
    • Class reassignment
    • Request for no contact between student reporting the incident and responding party
  • Mandatory Sexual Misconduct Training

    All faculty, staff, coaches and other employees of Punahou School are required to complete mandatory sexual misconduct training as condition of their employment. The training is conducted by a clinical psychologist and leading expert in the areas of sexual misconduct prevention and reporting.
  • Mandatory Reporting Policy

    As outlined in our Employee Code of Conduct, every employee and volunteer who works at Punahou is deemed a mandatory reporter and is required to alert authorities about suspected abuse.
  • Student Safety and Security Committee

    The Student Safety and Security Committee (SSSC) is charged with the creation, implementation and compliance of policies around student welfare and campus safety including:

    • Implementing measures to enhance the physical security of the campus for the Punahou community.
    • Communicating and educating externally and internally regarding student welfare and security initiatives.
    • Analyzing emerging areas of risk and developing recommendations for consideration by the School leadership.
  • Mental Health and Counseling Resources

    Our team of counselors collaborate and consult with administration, school staff, teachers, psychologists and families to provide general guidance and faculty support to help students be successful at school. Counselors encourage, intervene and advocate for students experiencing personal, academic and developmental difficulties.

    Support services include: counseling, consultation, crisis intervention and social and emotional education. Attention is paid to the sensitivity of the content of counseling conversations. Depending on the situation, legal and ethical requirements may demand that information be revealed to prevent harm to the student.
  • Cyber Security Program

    Punahou has implemented a rigorous cyber security program to provide its students with the safest digital experience possible. This includes a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and other IT professionals on staff who are dedicated to ensuring that Punahou employs state-of-the-art practices related to online security. Some of the practices Punahou has instituted include: education-focused security tools, (such as Securly), on premises firewalls, restricted YouTube access, formal review of all applications and software prior to being used by students, phishing exercises, and more.

    Punahou also proudly complies with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).
  • Code of Conduct

    Punahou School upholds the fundamental principle that every individual should be treated with dignity, respect and care.

    We affirm that a school should be a place where students learn not only about the world around them, but about themselves — creating a strong social, emotional and ethical foundation that will shape their experiences here and throughout their lives.

    This foundation is based on the core belief that every student should have the opportunity to learn in a safe and caring environment, free from harassment, bullying and unsafe or unethical behavior.

    All members of our community — whether students, parents, guardians, faculty, staff, contractors or volunteers — play a vital role in the development of a healthy learning environment.

  • Campus Security

    Punahou employs a team of security guards who are a familiar and reassuring presence on campus. In addition to covering the campus and facilities, they assist visitors and direct traffic flow during peak times. The School also hires sheriffs as an added security measure.
    A system of security cameras are installed across campus, located at campus entrances in addition to other strategic points, such as common gathering areas. None are located inside buildings. These cameras support ongoing safety planning and assist Security when an incident occurs.

    On a large and open campus, each member of the campus community is encouraged to take campus safety seriously and support safety efforts. This includes driving safely and with aloha for others, respecting security and staff instructions while on campus, taking care of others on campus and being alert to unusual or potentially dangerous situations.

    Campus Security can be reached by calling 944.5777.
  • Mandatory Reporter Notice

    Punahou employees who have a reason to believe that child abuse or neglect has occurred or may occur in the reasonably foreseeable future must report the matter to Child Welfare Service or the Police Department.

    In addition, Punahou employees may report information gained through the Punahou Community Hotline if they believe it is in the interest of the child and the community even if the information does not meet the reporting threshold of Hawaii’s mandatory reporting laws.
  • Punahou Community Hotline

    A third party, 24-hour-a-day hotline for anonymous reporting of sexual misconduct and abuse. 
     
    Confidentiality
    The Punahou Community Hotline is hosted by a third-party provider, EthicsPoint, and provides the opportunity for persons to confidentially report activities that may present physical, emotional or social harm to themselves or to another Punahou School student. Callers can choose to provide their names and contact information or to report anonymously. EthicsPoint will not provide information regarding the caller’s identity to Punahou School without the caller’s consent. Reports of child abuse or neglect, even if made anonymously, may be forwarded to the Child Welfare Service or the Police Department.

Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns about school safety, please contact: safety@punahou.edu

Important Numbers

Punahou School Administration:
808.944.5711

Punahou School Anonymous Hotline:

844.513.8110

State of Hawaii Crisis Line:

808.832.3100

National Crisis Text Line:

741741

National Suicide Hotline:

1.800.SUICIDE (1.800.784.2433)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

1.800.273.TALK (8255)

The Sex Abuse Treatment Center:

808.524.7273

Hawaii Child Welfare Services:

808.832.5300

Honolulu Police Department:

911 (808.529.3111)

For personal problems, employees may receive confidential professional short-term help through Punahou’s Employee Assistance Program