Stabbing on McKinley campus highlights ongoing homeless problem at schools

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Honolulu police responded to a stabbing at McKinley High School just before 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Police say a 43-year-old man was taken to an area hospital in serious condition with multiple stab wounds.

Two men, 21-year-old Axery Thomas and 20-year-old Genson Bunda, were arrested for second-degree attempted murder. Police believe one of the suspects and the victim are homeless.

“It’s a pervasive problem across the state,” said Mark Behrens, the Department of Education Director of Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness.

Behrens says the homeless issue impacts a majority of Oahu schools.

“I would think at least 90 percent. Certain locations are better than others. Certainly, all of these schools downtown have that issue,” Behrens said.

It’s one reason why custodians arrive well before 6 a.m.

“A lot of campuses, they got to wake up the homeless and ask them to leave. In addition to that, they check the grounds, make sure there’s no broken glass, beer bottles what have you. But it is an issue across the state,” Behrens said.

At McKinley High School, several empty beer bottles were scattered near the area of the stabbing. Police do not know if alcohol played a role in the incident.

Behrens says custodians are told not to get into confrontations when they encounter homeless on campus and to call 911 if they feel threatened.

“It’s not just beer bottles. You find condoms, we find everything. So we really have to give a lot of credit to our custodians and our school administrators for doing a good job for doing that check before the kids arrive to the campus,” Behrens said.

Behrens says Tuesday’s stabbing is another reminder that communities must continue to work together.

“We strengthen our partnerships with the police and the community. They do routine checks. Sometimes when we have a lot of break-ins and stuff and an inordinate amount of break-ins we call the police and we have special efforts with them to go do more patrolling,” Behrens said.

The suspects in Tuesday’s stabbing have not been charged.

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