HONOLULU -- Honolulu Police officials say they will not adopt any of the policy changes demanded by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) following the arrest of a 10-year-old Black girl at a Waipahu elementary school back in January 2020.
In October 2021, the ACLU sent a letter to HPD, the Hawaii Department of Education, and the state attorney general’s office demanding the statewide school district make policy changes, including forbidding staff from calling the police on a student unless the student presents an imminent threat of significant harm to someone, according to reporting by the Associated Press.
In that 2020 incident at Honowai Elementary School, administrators called police because the girl allegedly drew an offensive sketch of a student who was bullying her, the ACLU said. The parent of another child wanted to press charges.
In their October letter, the ACLU claimed that the HPD officers and school officials discriminated against the girl “by handcuffing, arresting and interrogating the 10-year-old girl for a “run-of-the-mill” dispute between children.” In addition to the policy changes, the ACLU demanded he city and state to pay $500,000 in damages to the family.
In their response to the ACLU’s letter, HPD officials said, in part, “Based on our review of the facts in this case and the HPD’s current policies at issue, the HPD will not adopt the four change-in-policy demands set forth in your letter. The HPD maintains its policies and practices are constitutionally and legally compliant and that the adoption of your demands will result in an unreasonable risk to the safety of all students and the Department of Education employees and may very well harm the general public.”
The full HPD response is included at the bottom of this article.