Wednesday, December 05, 2007
White Middle School Student Attacked By A Pack Of Non-White Girls In Hilo, Hawaii, But Suspended For Calling One Of Her Attackers A "Slut"
In the public school system in Hilo, Hawaii, if someone picks a fight with you, you better not call them a name while they're caving your head in, or you'll be suspended, too.
And 12-year old Waiakea Intermediate School student Evelyn Higgins (pictured above left) found this out back on November 15th, 2007. After as many as fourteen girls, most or all believed to be non-white, some possibly Hawaiian, started following her around on campus, one of them attacked her, bashing head against a wall four times following a nasty exchange of words. The attacker called Evelyn a "fucking haole." Evelyn called the attacker a "slut." The resultant gash in Evelyn's head required 10 surgical staples to close.
Evelyn's attacker will be punished by the school, but the school won't say how. Police are also investigating, but juvenile court cases remain secret. Whether using a racial slur makes this a hate crime might never be made public.
However, guess what? The victim, Evelyn Higgins, is also being punished - for calling her attacker a "slut". On Thursday December 6th, she'll serve a one-day in-school suspension somewhere on the school grounds. Her parents will sit with her out of sympathy and solidarity.
School officials won't explain why they believe Evelyn is also worthy of punishment, although she's the victim. However, principal Maureen Duffy said she and the vice principal investigated the case as "harassment," defined in Hawaii Administrative Rules as including hitting and using racial slurs.
Police Lt. Randall Medeiros said the officer assigned to Waiakea Intermediate initially classified the case as misdemeanor assault, but Medeiros raised it to a felony when he saw the extent of Evelyn's injuries.
Reports indicate that this type of behavior is atypical for this school. Visit the Honolulu Star-Bulletin website to read the rest of this story posted on December 5th.
Commentary: The article does not specifically identify the race of the attackers, but only a Hawaiian is likely to refer to a white person as a "fucking haole", which is a Hawaiian racial slur for "white".
The article also alludes to the pernicious infuence of the entertainment industry sending bad messages to kids, but I think there's another issue at work here. It's possible this could be a reflection of the growing Hawaiian sovereignty movement.
On November 11th, the Molokai Times reported on the passage of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act by the U.S. House back in October. Originally drafted by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), the bill would result in a landmark for ancestral descendants of the indigenous people of Hawaii by allowing for a process to establish parity with over 550 Alaska Native and Native American groups recognized by the U.S. government. It would extend self-governing rights to Native Hawaiians, which would allow for a government-to-government type of relationship between the U.S. and the Native Hawaiian governing body.
Perhaps this legislation has caused some of the "pineapples" to "start acting a bit prickly", if you know what I mean.