September 14, 2001
Contact: John Cole
Phone: 586-6032


Terrorist attack likely to dominate classroom discussions

Hawaii lawmakers will keep their scheduled appointments next week to participate in America's Legislators Back to School Week, sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures. There were suggestions that the event be postponed due to the tragedy on the Mainland, but NCSL decided it would move ahead as scheduled.

The annual bipartisan event focuses on teaching students about life as an elected official -- the pressures, the negotiation and compromise that are the fabric of representative democracy. The lessons may take on added meaning in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"NCSL is very sensitive to the national trauma and the need for this country to heal and move on," said House Speaker Calvin K. Y. Say. "NCSL believes, and we agree, that our direct contact with students at this time can contribute to that healing and help them better understand how this might impact the American way of life."

More than 30 House members have confirmed their participation in Back to School Week. The House's events are being coordinated by John Cole, executive assistant to House Majority Leader Marcus Oshiro.

Legislators will be joining students at a variety of public schools throughout the State.

"We hope to deliver the message that legislators are vitally interested in what people need and what their concerns are," said Oshiro. "I also want them to understand how lawmakers deal with competing interests and the steps we go through to solve disagreements on big problems."

The effort is receiving extensive support from the Department of Education, which facilitated access to the various public schools across the State.

NCSL is a bipartisan non-profit organization composed of the nation's state legislators and staff. NCSL's partners in the America's Legislators Back to School Week include, the Center for Civic Education, the National Education Association, the American Association of School Administrators, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Council for Social Studies, the Close Up Foundation, and the Reading Recovery Council of North America.

For details on an individual House member's participation or other program information, contact John Cole at 586-6032.