S.B. NO.



S.D. 2


H.D. 1














SECTION 1. The legislature finds that children living in poverty who have one or more parents incarcerated, are the victims of abuse or neglect, or are homeless often experience a range of traumatic and toxic stress. This stress can harm the child's brain development and physical, social, mental, emotional, and behavioral health and well-being.

The legislature further finds that in 2013, the Healthcare Association of Hawaii conducted a comprehensive study on Kauai to, among other things, uncover the needs of vulnerable populations, many of which have individuals of native Hawaiian ancestry. The study revealed that teens who drop out of school have a diminished ability to advocate for their own health and wellness compared to their peers still enrolled in school. Compounding this problem is that in 2017, 14.2 per cent of the students in department of education schools dropped out, amounting to 25,546 students.

The legislature finds that since high school dropouts are more likely to experience incarceration and poverty, it is imperative that the department of education identify vulnerable students who are likely to drop out, assess their needs, and provide them with the services they need to succeed.

The purpose of this Act is to require the department of education to:

(1) Evaluate and assess certain vulnerable children and children exhibiting emergent or persistent behavioral issues; and

(2) Assess suspended students at the request of the student's parent or guardian to identify factors contributing to the student's suspension and provide services to the student for any social disorder, emotional disorder, or learning difference.

SECTION 2. Chapter 302A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding two new sections to part II, subpart C, to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"302A‑   Evaluations of vulnerable children and children exhibiting emergent or persistent behavioral issues. (a) Upon request by a parent or guardian of a vulnerable child or a child who has exhibited emergent or persistent behavioral issues, the department shall provide the child with the following assessments and evaluations:

(1) An adverse childhood experience survey;

(2) A clinical assessment and, if needed, mental health services and follow-up counseling; and

(3) A comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation that includes:

(A) A cognitive assessment using the latest edition of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, the Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test, or another test approved by the director of health;

(B) An academic assessment using the latest edition of the Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement, Wechsler Individual Assessment Tests, or another test approved by the director of health;

(C) A social work assessment based upon the child's background, developmental, academic, legal, medical, and family history;

(D) A behavioral and emotional assessment using diagnostic interview and assessment measures for emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and social functioning that identifies strengths, interests, and motivators to support rapport building and interventions;

(E) A speech and language assessment; and

(F) An occupational therapy assessment.

(b) For purposes of this section:

"Child" means a person not younger than eleven years of age and not older than nineteen years of age.

"Vulnerable child" means any child who has:

(1) Been homeless within the past five years;

(2) One or more parents who have been incarcerated within the past ten years;

(3) Been in the foster care system;

(4) Used illegal drugs;

(5) A family history of alcohol or drug abuse;

(6) Been a victim of bullying or has bullied others; or

(7) A gang affiliation.

302A‑   Protections for students; evaluations to receive special education services. (a) If a school suspends a student who:

(1) Is between fourteen and nineteen years of age; and

(2) Has not been evaluated to receive special education services,

the school shall provide the suspended student's parents or guardians with the option to request a comprehensive assessment be conducted to determine or uncover any contributing factors that may have led to the current offense and that may mitigate any future disciplinary issues or concerns.

(b) An assessment requested pursuant to subsection (a) shall be conducted in an expedited manner. If an assessment identifies a social disorder, emotional disorder, or learning difference, the student may choose to attend an alternative educational school or vocational education training program instead of the educational placement determined by school authorities.

(c) Proportionate special education per pupil funding shall follow the student; provided that if a student chooses to attend and complete an education in an alternative educational school or vocational education training program, funding for the school from which the student received a suspension shall not be reduced because the suspended student attends a different school.

(d) Attendance at an alternative educational school or vocational education training program alone shall not prohibit a student from participating in extramural activities, clubs, and sports of the school from which the student received a suspension."

SECTION 3. Section 302A-1132, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

"(a) Unless excluded from school or excepted from attendance, all children who will have arrived at the age of at least five years on or before July 31 of the school year, and who will not have arrived at the age of eighteen years, by January 1 of any school year, shall attend either a public or private school for, and during, the school year, and any parent, guardian, or other person having the responsibility for, or care of, a child whose attendance at school is obligatory shall send the child to either a public or private school. Attendance at a public or private school shall not be compulsory in the following cases:

(1) Where the child is physically or mentally unable to attend school (deafness and blindness excepted), of which fact the certificate of a duly licensed physician shall be sufficient evidence;

(2) Where the child, who has reached the fifteenth anniversary of birth, is suitably employed and has been excused from school attendance by the superintendent or the superintendent's authorized representative, or by a family court judge;

(3) Where, upon investigation by the family court, it has been shown that for any other reason the child may properly remain away from school;

(4) Where the child has graduated from high school;

(5) Where the child is enrolled in an appropriate alternative educational program as approved by the superintendent or the superintendent's authorized representative in accordance with the plans and policies of the department, or notification of intent to home school has been submitted to the principal of the public school that the child would otherwise be required to attend in accordance with department rules adopted to achieve this result; or

(6) Where:

(A) The child has attained the age of [sixteen] fourteen years;

(B) The principal has determined that:

(i) The child has engaged in behavior which is disruptive to other students, teachers, or staff; or

(ii) The child's non-attendance is chronic and has become a significant factor that hinders the child's learning; and

(C) The principal of the child's school, and the child's teacher or counselor, in consultation with the child and the child's parent, guardian, or other adult having legal responsibility for or care of the child, develops an alternative educational plan for the child. The alternative educational plan shall include a process that shall permit the child to resume school.

The principal of the child's school shall file the plan made pursuant to subparagraph (C) with the child's school record. If the adult having legal responsibility for or care of the child disagrees with the plan, then the adult shall be responsible for obtaining appropriate educational services for the child."

SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2052.


Report Title:

DOE; Special Education; Disability; Student Rights



Requires DOE to provide specified assessments and evaluations, upon parent or guardian request, to vulnerable students exhibiting behavioral issues and to students who have been suspended for the purpose of providing appropriate services that allow the child to complete education. Lowers the threshold age for alternative or vocational schools from 16 to 14. (SB388 HD1)




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