More Than 2,000 Students Missing From School Enrollment in Wake of Deadly Lahaina Wildfire
More Than 2,000 Students Missing From School Enrollment in Wake of Deadly Lahaina Wildfire

By Allan Stein

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HDOE) has released a report showing over 2,000 students missing from Lahaina’s public school enrollment following the West Maui wildfires that killed at least 115 and left hundreds unaccounted for.

The HDOE “continues to navigate the significant impacts of the West Maui (Lahaina) wildfires which affected West Maui communities and schools in the Lahainaluna complex,” said HDOE Superintendent Keith Hayashi in a letter to state Board of Education Chairman Warren Haruki.

The Aug. 8 Lahaina wildfire caused significant damage to the Lahainaluna complex, including King Kamehameha III Elementary School, Princess Nahienaena Elementary School, Lahaina Intermediate School, and Lahainaluna High School.

In the state DOE report detailing the agency’s response, King Kamehameha III Elementary School (624 students) remains closed due to significant structural damage.

(L-R) President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Hawaii Governor Josh Green, and wife Jaime Green walk along Front Street to inspect wildfire damage in Lahaina, Hawaii on August 21, 2023. (Mandel NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Princess Nahienaena Elementary School (707 students), Lahaina Intermediate School (658 students), and Lahainaluna High School (1,012 students) all sustained wind, debris, ash, and soot damage, and remain closed for water safety and environmental quality.

According to the report, all four schools in the complex are awaiting official clearance.

The report noted that as of Aug. 9, 2023, the Lahainaluna complex had a total enrollment of 3,001 students, including 327 staff.

Since the Lahaina fire, 538 students have re-enrolled in other public schools, and 438 have enrolled in the state distance learning program.

‘Children Passed’

The remaining students—2,025—have yet to re-enroll in another public school or opted for distance learning, the report adds.

Whether these students moved out of state or enrolled in private schools is still undetermined.

The HDOE did not respond to an email from The Epoch Times seeking comment on this story.

In the meantime, the DOE report said it is working to meet short-term needs, such as mental health support information for students and staff and installing monitors for air quality.

Other supports include a newly established Maui support hotline and in-person, tele-health, and virtual options for medical needs.

On Aug. 25, Hawaii officials released the names of 388 residents still missing in the Lahaina fire, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

At least 850 people—including many children—remain unaccounted for, down from an earlier estimate of over 1,000 in the Lahaina fire.

During an interview with CBS News’ Face The Nation on Aug. 20, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green, a Democrat, described the devastating impact on West Maui schools.

“King Kamehameha Elementary School in Lahaina is burned to the ground. I mean, it’s totally gone. It used to host 650 children; some of those children passed,” Gov. Green said.

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