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Kealakehe Reopening Peaceful; Some Students Demonstrate For Unity

December 10, 2012, 5:05 PM HST
* Updated December 10, 5:10 PM
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State education officials late this afternoon said there were no incidents today as Kealakehe High School resumed classes – at least no negative ones.

The school in Kailua-Kona cancelled classes and other activities last Friday after fights involving dozens of students broke out several times the two days before.

The clashes involving disputes between Micronesian and “local” students resulted in police arresting eight students on Thursday. The students were charged with disorderly conduct and released.

Department of Education spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said each of the eight students has been suspended from school for three days, which means they cannot return to classes until Thursday.

Police and extra security personnel were on hand today when the school reopened. The school also staggered classes and lunch periods to avoid large congregations of students.

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The results were better than expected.

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“Everything went so well we decided to pull back the extra security,” Dela Cruz said.

She said there was also an unexpected positive note – a number of students got together and decided to wear white shirts as a symbol of unity and peace.

“The students are really taking things into their own hands to show they can embrace diversity,” Dela Cruz said.

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The number of students who wore white shirts was not immediately available.

According to the DOE, there are 1,470 students enrolled this fall at Kealakehe High School.

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