Rally for Students

Parents, keiki rally for cooler classrooms in light of record-breaking heat

By Kristine Uyeno
Published: September 10, 2015, 5:28 pm
Updated: September 10, 2015, 5:30 pm

The Department of Education will soon have more guidelines for staff, parents, and teachers to handle the heat.

A spokesperson says it could happen as soon as Friday morning.

In the meantime, two rallies were held Thursday fronting the DOE building on Punchbowl Street to support teachers and students who work in “unbearable” conditions.

Their message was clear: Give keiki air conditioning, especially in this record-breaking heat.

“We would like to bring AC to every classroom in the state,” said Gigi Jones of Cool Our Keiki. “It should be very timely because it is a health crisis.”

Jones organized the rallies through her Facebook page. She, like many parents in the state, is concerned with her children’s learning abilities in the hot and humid weather.

“Most of the kids are sweating and some are just relaxing and trying to cool off,” said third-grader Marcella Viernez. “With the heat, it is hard to focus.”

Parents KHON2 spoke to at the rally also said the hot classrooms affect children after school ends.

“We have to drink a lot of water. We have the cooling class for them. We have to wait to do homework because when they come home, they are tired and hot,” said mother Reyna Viernez.

In a statement, the DOE said “We share the concerns of the parents, which is why we have been working vigorously to address the heat situation in our school from emergency purchases of portable ACs to deploying fans in classrooms.”

KHON2 has learned portable air conditioning units have been sent to schools like Ilima Intermediate and Kaimiloa on Oahu, and some to Maui.

“I think that’s great. They’re actually stepping up and trying to do something,” said Reyna Viernez. “What worries me is that our schools are so old, that plugging one in, it could blow the fuse system.”


“Cool Our Keiki”
Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
In front of the DOE

Stand together with parents and the community for our students and our classrooms.

To Oahu Members,

A community and parent group by the name of “Cool our Keiki” will be holding a rally in front of the Queen Liliuokalani Department of Education Building at 1390 Miller Street from 3:00-5:00 p.m. on September 10, 2015 to advocate for cooling our classrooms.

We are sorry for the last minute notice, but if you have time and wish to join in the fight to cool our classrooms we wanted to give you the opportunity.

Having parents come out publicly to support public education in Hawaii is a powerful force and one that is beneficial for all of our children. We are making progress on our hot classrooms, and we need to keep the pressure up.

Corey Rosenlee