Hawaii parents get school letters after false missile alert
HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s public school officials have sent letters to parents offering counseling and reminding them emergency drills are in place after students went back to school following last weekend’s false missile alert.
The state Department of Education sent the letters home with students on Tuesday, three days after Hawaii officials sent out the bogus cellphone alert about an incoming ballistic missile and then canceled it 40 minutes later.
Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said in the letter that recent events served as a statewide reminder of emergency preparations.
“Rest assured (DOE) schools hold emergency drills to educate and prepare students and staff of situations that threaten the safety and security of our campus,” the letter said.
The letter said the “shelter-in-place” drill is the proper school emergency action for a missile threat. It also said the district is offering additional crisis counseling services for students experiencing emotional trauma after Saturday’s false alert.
“This past weekend not only caused us to reflect on preparation efforts, but it also may have caused emotional trauma for you and your children,” Kishimoto said.
Chad Farias, superintendent of the Ka’u-Keaau-Pahoa Complex Area, said that as of Tuesday afternoon no East Hawaii students had requested any additional crisis outreach.
Rebecca Keolanui, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Hilo, said she also hasn’t had any clients seeking services for their children specifically after Saturday’s attack, but she recommends any children having issues get professional help.