January 2, 2018
Aloha kākou e ka ‘ohana Kamehameha,
Mahalo to all who have taken the time to provide mana‘o over the past few weeks as we work to do what is right for the survivors of Dr. Browne and to ensure the safety and well-being of the haumāna in our care.
As a Kamehameha Schools ‘ohana, our hearts are heavy with grief. Our fuller understanding of what these survivors — our friends and classmates, former students and, now, alumni — experienced and continue to struggle with today has been heart-wrenching. Your uplifted voices have motivated us to reflect even more deeply on what our founder, Ke Ali‘i Pauahi, would want us to do. We are listening to your voices and to hers, especially. She would challenge us to do better.
The suffering endured by these men and their families is a tragic example of something far too insidious in our community. As this horrific situation has shined a light on past shortcomings within our own organization, we understand that Kamehameha Schools must contribute to finding a shared solution that ends these abuses, so that no child suffers the way these survivors have.
For us, solutions and transformation start at home, here at Kamehameha Schools, where more could have been done once the abuses were discovered and reported to our administration. Here’s what we are doing to ensure that today, Kamehameha Schools is a safe place where our haumāna thrive.
We have taken action in earnest pursuit of justice and healing for the survivors.
We are also establishing important new tools within Kamehameha Schools to foster better visibility and accountability.
For all of us at Kamehameha Schools, student safety is our highest priority and a core value; we continuously work to improve our systems, programs, and approaches.
Beyond such programmatic improvements, a deeper change is underway at Kamehameha Schools. We are a very different institution today than we were 40 years ago. In 2015, we embarked on a new Strategic Plan, challenging us to consider every Hawaiian child a child of Ke Ali‘i Pauahi, so that within one generation, we could fulfill a vision of a thriving lāhui. This vision requires us to better support and engage with communities across the pae ‘āina, so we can collectively address the things that hurt our families and stand in their way. We adopted a new organization-wide code of conduct, updated our policies, procedures, measures, information and risk management systems so that we can better serve all of our keiki, guided by the principle that our keiki and their wellbeing — not our organization or ourselves — must always be at the center of everything we do.
Bringing justice to survivors of abuse, becoming a more accountable, stronger organization, and improving the safety and well-being of all of our keiki in our programs and throughout our community are foundational to our educational mission and Ke Ali‘i Pauahi’s vision for her people. We remain committed to these things and to bringing justice as quickly as possible to the individuals hurt by Dr. Browne.
Mahalo, again, for raising your voices. We are listening, and we are taking action.
‘O māua nō me ka ha‘aha‘a,
Me ka ‘oia‘i‘o,
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Kamehameha Schools’ leaders will be hosting meetings for ‘ohana members — alumni, parents, students and employees — to talk about what actions are being taken to ensure our students are safe and thriving and to listen to your suggestions about how we can become better.
For Kamehameha Schools, being entrusted by parents with the safety and security of their children is an honor and privilege. In order to be effective, student safety is a responsibility for everyone at KS, from staff to students and parents.
KS is one of only a handful of private K-12 and public school systems across the nation and one of the first in Hawai‘i to have the objective, third-party EthicsPoint system for student reporting in place.
Headed by Dr. Kenneth Fink, Mālama Ola has the responsibility for student health, safety and well-being for all students and staff throughout the three campuses, 30 preschools, and the organization.