Friday, October 31, 2008

Message from Kamehameha Schools CEO and Trustees

This message was sent earlier in the week but I just got it this morning.

Aloha mai kakou:

I am writing to let you know about an important development in Jacob Doe vs. Kamehameha Schools, the lawsuit filed this summer by four anonymous students (and their parents) challenging our admissions policy. In September, the plaintiffs, through their attorneys, filed a motion for protective order in U.S. District Court in Honolulu asking the court to allow them to proceed anonymously. We opposed the
motion. Today, U.S. Magistrate Barry Kurren denied the plaintiffs motion. Jacob, Janet, Karl and Lisa Doe have ten days to disclose their identities if they decide to pursue this case.

Judge Kurren's ruling was very thoughtful, and we appreciate his decision. We believe we have the right to face those who challenge our policy, and we will continue to stand our ground on that issue. Even as we assert our rights in court, we will behave in the pono way that Pauahi would have expected. We need to remember that the
plaintiffs are children and should be treated with care and sensitivity.

We intend to conduct discovery to establish that the plaintiffs do not, in fact, have standing to sue. Such discovery would be hampered if the plaintiffs remained anonymous. The plaintiffs' attorneys argued that disclosing their identifies would put their safety at risk. They attempted to support their argument with referrals to unrelated newspaper articles detailing physical and verbal attacks that are allegedly racially motivated and which have no connection to Kamehameha Schools or our case. They also referenced anonymous blog posts in newspaper forums linked to articles about our earlier lawsuit.

Judge Kurren's ruling states "none of the Plaintiffs' evidence shows any threat of physical violence or economic harm against the Plaintiffs." I know you know that we would never take any aciton that puts a child in danger. We would never engage in or condone any racial threats or actions, and we know none of you would either.

There will be some press on the hearing in the morning newspaper. If you know of anyone who intends to respond via chat lines, please encourage them to do so with sensitivity and care.

E malama pono,

The CEO and Trustees

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