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The Hiʻikua Student Helpline web portal utilized an existing service and technology to provide an innovative, effective and efficient resource to support student safety.

Student helpline expanded tri-campus and to preschools

Jan. 24, 2017

Contributed by Shaundor Chillingworth

For Kamehameha Schools, being entrusted by parents with the safety and security of their children is an honor and privilege. KS remains focused on student safety and well-being as an organizational priority, supported through actions like the expansion of EthicsPoint to support students and parents as well.

As part of Kamehameha Schools’ continued commitment to student safety and wellbeing, the Hiʻikua Student Helpline has been expanded to service all three campuses and 30 preschools across the KS education system.

KS CEO Jack Wong has consistently highlighted student safety as a priority for Kamehameha Schools.

“There is nothing more important than the safety of our children,” says Wong. “Everything we do is focused on achieving our mission of improving the capability and well-being of the Hawaiian people through education. The best way we can do that is to make sure our students have safe and healthy learning environments in which to flourish.”

In order to be effective, student safety is a responsibility for everyone at Kamehameha Schools, from staff to students and parents. Making safety integral to the culture at Kamehameha Schools can only happen with broad and consistent support from everyone involved.

One way in which students and parents can help in building this culture of safety is “if you see something, say something”. The new Hiʻikua Student Helpline provides an additional avenue for parents and students to ask questions and raise concerns.

Hiʻikua is an anonymous, confidential independent reporting service administered through EthicsPoint. KS has utilized EthicsPoint for over a decade, using the service to track and manage issues at the employee level. Hiʻikua was successfully piloted on the KS Maui campus for two years. 

“We piloted this program on our Maui campus in 2014 and are pleased to have expanded the Student helpline to our Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island campuses and 30 preschools statewide as well in 2016,” said Dr. Holoua Stender, KS Executive Vice President of Education. “Students are encouraged to share personal concerns, concerns for fellow students, or observations of these issues within their educational environment.”

Kamehameha Schools’ Compliance Division recently participated in an industry publication case study to encourage other schools to improve student safety and helpline resources. NAVEX Global is the provider of KS’ EthicsPoint employee hotline and the Hiʻikua Student Helpline. Through the study, NAVEX confirmed KS as an industry leader among their K-12 and higher education clients.

Nelson Pratt, Director of Corporate Marketing at NAVEX Global shared “Kamehameha is an innovative leader when it comes to student and faculty safety.  They are one of the first educational institutions to leverage a compliance hotline to track student-related issues as a stand-alone category, as well as create a separate hotline for students and parents to report concerns. This approach is uniquely effective and demonstrates Kamehameha’s leadership in this area.”

Karen Ernst, KS Director of Compliance, noted how more local organizations are providing hotline resources, such as UH, which launched their EthicsPoint hotline in June 2016.

“Using the knowledge gained from having ours in place for 10 years, we’ve been able to adapt a proven solution to create an innovative, effective, low-cost expansion of this technology to support the safety of our students,” says Ernst.

“Students are encouraged to use the helpline to report issues like harassment, bullying, threats or violence, drug or alcohol use, or anything that’s a concern to their safety and well-being.  Students are encouraged to share personal concerns, concerns for fellow students, or observation of these issues within their educational environment.”

Students and parents can either file a report online or call the EthicsPoint hotline(1-844-284-2640), which is managed 24/7. Reports are generated and routed to the proper level within KS. Reports can be made anonymously or one can choose to self-identify.

The intention for the helpline is for it to be available as an additional resource. Students and families should continue to report any issues to their counselors or administrators, first and foremost.

“This isn’t a replacement for how issues are communicated and isn’t the only method through which issues should be addressed,” said Ernst. “We encourage students and parents to talk with teachers, counselors and administrators if they have a concern.”

“Hiʻikua is intended to be an additional resource for students and parents. Our hope is that it’ll be another venue and provide another level of comfort so issues do not go unreported.”

Handbooks were updated this year to include the Hiʻikua Student Helpline information, should students need more information on what kinds of issues should be reported. There is a web button on each of the campus webpages that families can access the portal by clicking the image.

Over the next two years, efforts to raise awareness about Hiʻikua and its availability will take place throughout the KS education system. The hope is that students will take the lead in making sure their peers are aware it is there and use it when needed.

Ernst reinforces, “Even if just one student uses it and we are able to make a difference for that keiki, it’s worth it.”

SP2020 is a five-year strategic plan that will guide Kamehameha Schools from 2015 to 2020. The plan marks a starting point toward KS’ Vision 2040, which envisions success for all Native Hawaiian learners.

The Hiʻikua Student Helpline supports Goal 1  of SP2020 which call for KS to deliver world-class, culture-based education. It also supports Action 1 of Kamehameha’s Ten Actions for fiscal year 2016-17, advancing as a world-class KS school system by focusing on student safety and well-being as an organizational priority.

KS Maui piloted the Hiʻikua Student Helpline in 2014. A series of posters were created to help raise awareness of the new service.

Kamehameha Schools’ Compliance Division recently participated in an industry publication case study to encourage other schools to improve student safety and helpline resources

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