2023-29 JUDGE SIDES WITH STATE IN LAWSUIT REGARDING ALLEGED “STRIP SEARCH” IN CHARTER SCHOOL
News Release from Hawaii Attorney General, Jul 12, 2023
HONOLULU, HI – Hawai‘i Circuit Court Judge Kevin T. Morikone has granted summary judgment in favor of Kapolei Charter School and its director Wanda Villareal, the Department of Education, and the Hawai‘i State Public Charter School Commission—the defendants in a lawsuit regarding an alleged “strip search” of three students.
The defendants vehemently denied the allegations throughout the case and moved for summary judgment on all claims. On July 11, 2023, Judge Morikone granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants and directed the entry of a final judgment.
The trial that had been scheduled to begin on Monday, July 17, 2023, has been canceled because grant of summary judgment means that the defendants won the lawsuit without the need for a trial.
“We are very satisfied with the decision,” said Deputy Attorney General Justine Hura, lead attorney for the defendants. “The Department of the Attorney General’s position has always been that the claims lacked any merit, and we are happy to announce that our clients have prevailed in this case.”
“Our Governing Board has stood with unwavering trust and belief in our school director, Wanda Villareal,” said Kapolei Charter School Governing Board Chair Malcolm Lau. “We take school safety seriously and work hard to keep our school positive and drug-free. We are proud that we have approached this matter with care and compassion for all concerned. Our top priority is to ensure that we can provide a positive and safe learning environment that serves the best interests of our students.”
The case is Akau v. Villareal, Civil No. 1CCV-20-0000138. A copy of the Circuit Court’s minute order can be found here.
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July 8, 2023: Female Principal Performed Unlawful Search Of High School Girls, Lawsuit Alleges
July 12, 2023: Court Rules In Favor Of Hawaii Charter School In ‘Strip Search’ Lawsuit
July 14, 2023: Judge is asked to reconsider school search ruling
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