Hawaiʻi Island police on concern over recent arrest of 14-year-old at Hilo Intermediate
The police department on Hawaiʻi Island said it is aware of the growing community concern about a recent rash of violence allegedly caused by a group of teenagers calling themselves the “Score Gang.”
Parents took to social media to vent their frustration over alleged assaults, threats and violence against their kids and others in the community. Two parents filed police reports after they say their children were threatened on their public school campus.
Speaking to The Conversation, Casey-Leigh Sabate-Hauanio said her daughter and niece were at recess when the alleged "Score Gang" came up to them and began waving knives in their faces.
"They were trying to get her to take off her sweater, and they told her that they own Hawaiʻi and that they own Hawaiians," Sabate-Hauanio said.
"We have several documented cases involving students that could possibly be associated with, you know, this group who's been identified as the 'Score Gang,'" Hawaiʻi Police Department Capt. Rio Amon Wilkins said.
According to Wilkins, a 14-year-old boy was arrested for terroristic threatening at Hilo Intermediate School on March 2. The victims were two girls, aged 13 and 14, who attend the school.
"It's my understanding that that most recent case has been what's really garnered the most attention, especially on social media," Wilkins said.
"From a law enforcement standpoint, we absolutely take these types of cases and allegations very seriously. School safety is a concern I think to everyone," he said. "But I also think that there's a lot of rumors and hearsay and things that are on social media, which, it's understandable. That's the nature of the world we live in now on social media, but I think a lot of it is causing more problem than it needs to be."
School administrators told police that the kids possibly associated with the incident are not causing serious issues within the school, Wilkins told HPR.
In a statement, the Hawaiʻi Department of Education said, “Assaults and threats at schools are taken very seriously and are investigated thoroughly. Schools are not able to discuss case details in order to protect student privacy. During investigations and as efforts are made to resolve such incidents, parents are asked to work closely with administrators and to remain as patient and as neutral as possible through the entire process and to not engage in ways that might inflame a situation.”
Brandy Fontes said her experience was similar to Sabate-Hauanio's, but not as direct. Fontes said her daughter began receiving texts from a friend saying that there would be a shooting at the school involving her daughter, which led Fontes to immediately file a police report.
If your child has been a victim of any type of crime or bullying, Wilkins said parents should ensure it gets reported to the police.
Going forward, Fontes said she wants to take a positive approach to finding a solution in the community.
"The children are supposed to get along and feel safe, no matter where they're at. Whether it's school, at home or the community," Fontes said.
A “Settle The Score” peaceful rally will take place Friday, March 10 at the Kamehameha Statue at Hilo Bayfront from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
This interview aired on The Conversation on March 8, 2023. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.