February 12, 2008
Aloha mai kākou,
Safety has always been our priority for Kamehameha Schools, and we’re confident in the learning environment we have in place today for our keiki. We know, though, that we cannot rest on this — as a Kamehameha Schools community, we must be and are committed to improving ourselves every day to better protect our keiki. I’d like to take this time to share with you some important updates on our work in this area.
- Dr. Browne lawsuits: We are working hard through mediation to bring closure to these legal cases so that our haumāna who were harmed by St. Francis physician Robert Browne decades ago can move forward. I am grateful to all of you for raising your voices in concern and support for both the survivors and Kamehameha Schools. Be assured we are listening, and we look forward to resolution.
- New cases: We have an improved system and procedures to ensure proper reporting of new incidences of abuse for both past and current students. Additional external, experienced resources are being secured to receive reports, conduct investigations and manage cases.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND ADVISORY
- We have held ‘Ohana Meetings on O‘ahu, Hawai‘i Island, Maui and Kaua‘i to hear from you and the community. To those who attended the meetings in January, we mahalo you; your questions and insights have been invaluable. We are taking your mana‘o seriously and incorporating it in our planning processes for short- and long-term systemic change.
- We also gathered a group of prominent leaders — comprised of experts from the community in the field of sex abuse and trauma from the clinical, spiritual and cultural points of view — to serve as an Advisory Council. They convened in January, and we are receiving important feedback and resources on best practices in policy development and treatment of survivors.
- We formed an internal Safety Steering Committee comprised of leaders in the organization which will advise on specific issues of safety and well-being affecting our students and staff. Likewise, we are engaging current students for their mana‘o on concerns and improvements to be made.
EDUCATION & TRAINING
- For all of our employees, we are providing updated training to create more sensitivity and awareness about the signs and symptoms of abuse as well as responding to such occurrences. These sessions will deepen our ability to prevent and detect abuse.
ACCESS TO CURRENT TRENDS, RESOURCES & REPORTING
- Our progress also includes a new online resource — Our Commitment to Student Safety — to keep people informed about student safety activities, ways to report abuse, channels where community can share mana‘o with us, and other important resources. Please visit the site and check back periodically for updated information.
While there are more initiatives underway, many of which have been evolving over the years, we realize that our work will never truly be done when it comes to creating a safe environment for our current keiki and for generations to come. In this new year of healing, renewal and positive change, it is my commitment to you that we will continue to actively listen, learn, and improve every day for the sake of our communities, our families and our keiki.
Me ka ha‘aha‘a,