Hilo High School Principal Flip-flops: cancels Albertini speaking to students after threats

Press Release: 7:00PM Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013
From: Jim Albertini Malu ‘Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box AB Ola’a (Kurtistown) Hawai’i 96760 Phone 808-966-7622 Email ja@malu-aina.org www.malu-aina.org

Re: Hilo High School Principal Flip-flops: cancels Albertini speaking to students after threats
Jim Albertini’s presentations for March 6th and 8th at the invitation Hilo High School teachers have now been canceled by School Principal Robert Dircks.
Topics were to include the military presence in Hawaii, U.S. ongoing wars, use of drones, DU contamination in Hawaii, and the role of non-violent resistance for peace and justice.

One day after receiving an email from Hilo High School Principal Robert Dircks and teacher Joseph Watts saying that the controversy has been resolved over pro-military school librarian, Amy Okuyama, objecting to Jim Albertini speaking in the school library, Albertini was informed by teacher Watts that Principal Dircks has decided to block Albertini from speaking to students.

Albertini said that on Tuesday, Feb. 19th at 2:50 PM he received emails from Principal Dircks and teacher Watts saying his speaking to students on March 6th and 8th was a go.  The controversy was an intra-school issue and had “been resolved.”

What a difference a day makes!

Albertini said on Wed. Feb. 20th at 4:30PM he received a phone call from teacher Watts saying that Principal Dircks has decided to cancel the invitation for Albertini to speak.  Albertini said Watts informed him that in the last 24 hours Principal Dircks received threats and decided to cancel my speaking because “it was going to disrupt the school.”  Watts informed Albertini that Principal Dircks would be glad to talk with Albertini about the situation and provided Albertini with the principal’s school phone number. Albertini tried to phone principal Dircks at 4:50PM Wed. 974-4021 ext. 2229 but there was no answer.  Albertini left a message and his phone number 966-7622 saying that he would be glad to talk about the matter but also requested the reason of cancellation be put in writing.

Albertini said “if talking about peace and non-violence is “going to disrupt the school,” we are in deep trouble as a society.  It says to me we have too much war and violence. There are Jr. ROTC programs and military recruiters in our schools.  It’s time to make some room for peace and non-violence.”

Jim Albertini was honored by Pax Christi USA as the 2010 Teacher of Peace, awarded to one individual annually in the U.S.
In 2012, the Interfaith Alliance Hawaii presented Jim Albertini and his Malu Aina organization its award for “Encouraging Non-violent Civic Participation”

Principal Dircks email address is Robert_Dircks/HILOH/HIDOE@notes.k12.hi.us
Librarian Amy Okuyama’s email address is Amy_Okuyama/HILOH/HIDOE@notes.k12.hi.us
Teacher Joseph Watts’ email address is Joseph_Watts/HILOH/HIDOE@notes.k12.hi.us