Roosevelt High School does not have a permanent police presence on campus.
Neighbor island schools have had that for many years, thanks to a federal grant that began the program.
“So we have police officers on Maui, Kauai, as well as Hawaii County. When the funding ended, some of the counties saw the value in having police officers stationed at some of the schools,” said Donalyn Dela Cruz, Director of Communications for the Department of Education.
Dela Cruz says the cost to place police officers at all Oahu middle and high schools would be prohibitive. Waianae Neighborhood Board Member Calvin Endo disagrees.
“You cannot put cost on kid’s feeling safe, you know what I mean. If the kid’s not feeling safer and the campus isn’t safer,” Endo said.
Dela Cruz says the Department of Education has a strong relationship with the police department and that, she says was evident on Tuesday.
Besides, school security attendants or security guards develop a relationship with students.
“There is that uncle, aunty aspect. But there’s also the authority that comes with that. They respect their security guards. The security guards take their community seriously,” Dela Cruz said.
Again, Endo has a disagreement, saying the students know the security guards have limited authority when it comes to dealing with problem students.
“HPD would grab them, handcuff them, pepper spray them as they’re getting carried away. Or taser them and handcuff them, right? But our security cannot do that,” Endo said.
Endo suggests the security guards should be deputized so they have more authority.
KHON2 talked with a Kauai County spokeswoman. She said the county is pleased to have police resources on school campuses and looking to expand the program if more grant money can be found.