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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Student stabbed during class


By Mary Vorsino
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Police gathered at Kalani High School yesterday after a student was stabbed in a violent confrontation during a morning math class.

MARY VORSINO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Parents and administrators expressed shock yesterday following a rare violent confrontation between two students at Kalani High School that left a 16-year-old in serious condition with multiple stab wounds.

The victim was stabbed about 9 a.m. while in a math class packed with about 30 students. The suspect, a 17-year-old student, was detained by a vice principal shortly after leaving the classroom.

The student was held at the school's office and later arrested on attempted-murder charges.

Police said the two boys had no prior history of violence.

After the attack, the school was put on "lockdown" for nearly two hours with students confined to classrooms as the parents of those who witnessed the stabbing were called and police investigated.

Police Capt. Richard Robinson, of the Criminal Investigation Division, said the victim suffered non-life-threatening stab wounds to his torso from a "large knife," which was recovered in the classroom.

The victim was taken to The Queen's Medical Center.

The suspect and victim are both students in the first-period math class where the incident happened, school officials said. The classroom involved is in the school's E building.

Parents said they were in disbelief following the stabbing and administrators were also stunned, given the school's stellar reputation.

Many of Kalani High School's 1,110 students come from affluent homes, and violence on campus is rare.

"We rarely even have fights in our school," Kalani High Principal Gerald Teramae said. "It's very surprising something like this could happen" at the campus.

He stressed the attack was "isolated," and also said the two students involved haven't had any behavioral problems before.

The victim, he said, is a student-athlete and is on the swim and football teams.

Teramae said the suspect is also a "good student."

"He's never had any disciplinary consequences ... against him."

Teramae added, "We don't know what prompted the incident."

Counseling was offered yesterday to students who needed it, and school officials urged parents to pick up their children if they wanted to.

Few did, though, and several parents said they still believe the campus is one of the safest on the island. Parents also said the attack was a wake-up call that violence can happen anywhere.

"Any place, any school, that's what happens," said Toshiko Saito, whose 16-year-old daughter attends the school. Saito said her daughter called her after the stabbing and said she was a "little scared."

"I was worried," Saito said.

Parent Lori Seki also got a call from her daughter, 14, after the incident, shortly after hearing about the stabbing on the news. "I never thought here of all places," said Seki, whose son also attends Kalani.

Seki said the attack left her on edge and "jittery" all day. But, she added, she isn't worried about sending her kids back to school.

Teramae said to ease any concerns he plans to send a letter home to parents explaining what happened and will also hold a school-wide assembly today to talk to students.