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Hawaii Anti-Bullying Bill Becomes Law

The Human Services chair, Rep. John Mizuno (Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, Fort Shafter), announced today in response to President Obama’s anti-bullying message that he will introduce a bill which requires the department of education to adopt rules to prohibit school bullying and cyber bullying.

Today, President Obama provided a taped message in the wake of several recent suicides by young people who were being bullied or taunted for being gay. In the three minute-video message President Obama provides, in part, “We’ve got to dispel this myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage, that it’s some inevitable part of growing up. It’s not. As a nation we’re founded on the belief that all of us are equal and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness… ”

According to Rep. Mizuno, “To denigrate another person to elevate yourself represents hatred, bigotry and bullying. Hawaii is not immune to bullying or cyber bullying and therefore I agree with the President’s anti-bullying message and will introduce model anti-bullying legislation for schools to adhere to.”

Rep. Mizuno’s bill draft provides that schools shall have a procedure for students and parents to confidentially report to school officials incidents of bullying or cyber bullying, a formal process for the documentation of reported incidents of bullying or cyber bullying, a formal investigation process, disciplinary procedures for students who committed bullying or cyber bullying and a procedure that sets forth consequences for submitting false reports of incidents of bullying or cyber bullying.

According to Mizuno, “Bullying and cyber bullying is a problem in Hawaii. Bullying means aggressive behavior or intentional harm directed at another student and committed by an individual or group of students repeatedly over time. This includes physical abuse, harassment, intimidation, taunting, and ridicule. Cyber bullying means to communicate electronically, via computer system, blog, cellular telephone, facsimile, text message, online community website such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube or similar telecommunication mechanism for harassment, intimidation, taunting, and ridicule. We need to properly address bullying and cyber bullying in our state.”

Rep. Mizuno’s bill was introduced at the 2011 legislative session. Today it is now state law.

Bill Designates September 11th as Patriot Day in Hawaii

In 2009 HB 274 was passed by the Hawaii State Legislature as Act 14. The measure was authored by State Representative John Mizuno, Chairman of the Human Services Committee, designing September 11th as “Patriot Day” in Hawaii to honor the victims of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia, and in rural Pennsylvania.

2011 Hawaii Patriot Day
The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, was one of the deadliest and most damaging in the history of the United States. The destruction was enormous, the World Trade Center’s towers devastated by the two hijacked airplanes, the Pentagon partially destroyed by a third hijacked plane, a fourth plane crashed in rural Pennsylvania, and more than 3,000 people killed.

Rep. Mizuno explains that the purpose of the measure is to honor those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, and to acknowledge the bravery and heroism of those individuals who assisted in rescue efforts following the attacks. The measure is also to remind us to remain committed and united in defending our state and nation against terrorism.

“By designing September 11th as ‘Patriot Day’ we shall provide a reminder of the sacrifices made by those who perished on September 11, 2001, and also the vigilance that is needed to combat terrorism. I wanted to recognize and honor the victims and true heroism that was shown in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. The brave acts of the police officers, firefighters, emergency personnel, and ordinary citizens, truly define our citizens.” Stated Rep. Mizuno.

On May 1, 2011, President Obama announced that Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda and the terrorist network behind the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States was killed in Pakistan.

“We will never forget our people we lost on that fateful day and as we approach the 10th anniversary of the attacks we continue to move steadfast against terrorism and united in support of our country,” said Rep. Mizuno.