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.


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


Information from: KGMB-TV

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