State supreme court ruling favors Hawaiian language classes

HONOLULU (AP) — The state Supreme Court has ruled Hawaii’s constitution requires reasonable access to Hawaiian language immersion programs.

Hawaii News Now reported Tuesday that the justices ruled the programs are a necessary component in restoring Hawaiian language and culture.

The case brought by the parent of two schoolchildren on Lanai says the island’s only public school did not offer a Hawaiian language immersion program.

In a 4-to-1 decision, justices ruled that access to a Hawaiian language class only a few times per week was not sufficient.

The ruling says steps must be taken to build an immersion program.

In a written dissent, Justice Paula Nakayama says the state should provide “as many students as possible” with access to immersion programs, but disagrees the state constitution requires it.

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This story clarifies that the ruling reported by Hawaii News Now was not 3-2, but actually one dissent, according to a judiciary spokesperson.

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Information from: KGMB-TV

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