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Ask Your Senator

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Published on Apr 3, 2012

Students at this year's "Pizza and Policy" event held at the Hawaii State Capitol, were among the first ever to submit questions for Education Week's inaugural "Ask Your Senator" project.

With several concerns about potential issues, a Kaimuki High School student, posed two questions to her State Senators.

First, concerned with the this year's tragic school shooting in Ohio, the student asked:

"...(regarding) the recent shooting at the Ohio high school, what would you do if that happened here?"-Kaimuki High School student.

After listening to the student's question, Senate Committee on Education Chair Jill Tokuda answered, "That is of serious concern. I think it's every parents', every schools' nightmare. And I can tell you that here in Hawaii we do have policies and procedures and guideline setup to make sure that should a tragedy like that occur on any of our campuses we are prepared."

The second concern that the student focused on was the topic of decreased student enrollment facing many Hawaii public high schools. The student described:

"I think one of the problems in our schools is that some schools are losing students, especially student enrollment for freshman. It's been happening a lot at Kaimuki High School. I'm trying so many things to get more of our middle school district students to come to our school so that we don't lose teachers or lose electives because if it continues over the years, the school might close down. And I don't want to see my school get closed down... Please give your suggestions to how I can help improve my school..." -Kaimuki High School student.

In response, Senator Tokuda suggested, "One of the things you might want to consider is Parents for Public Schools, a new organization here in Hawaii, ... started-up their middle school tours, as a means of getting elementary school parents to take a look at their middle schools in a new light and see all of the positive things going on there. Perhaps in talking with them you might start a high school tour..."

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