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HAWAII NEWS NOW: After lengthy inquiry, former principal of Hawaii School for Deaf and Blind to be reinstated

February 26, 2022

The former principal of the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind is getting his job back.

In 2019, the state Department of Education complex superintendent recommended that Angel Ramos, who was principal at the time, be demoted. The department brought in a temporarily assigned principal and transferred Ramos to another campus.

At that time, DOE said they would not talk about personnel matters.

But a state arbitrator has now said he must be reinstated.

Ramos says he’s thrilled to be returning to the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind. He said it’s the start to a new beginning and is ready to rebuild the school again.

“To be honest with you, three years has been tough ... but I’m happy it’s over,” said Ramos.

Ramos is looking forward to seeing his students and teachers again.

“I missed everything about the school,” said Ramos, who is deaf and fluent in ASL.

Students and staff say the school regressed after he left.

“When Dr. Ramos left, of course, all the students were sad,” said HSDB student Eva Silva-Ewan. “You know, our mental health went down. We weren’t happy as we used to be, sometimes people were missing classes.”

And now they’re looking forward to seeing him around campus again following a state arbitrator’s orders.

“He’s very encouraging to students,” said HSDB student Dane Silva-Ewan. “He encourages them to do well and do their best in school.”

“I am very happy, I am excited that he will come back to where we left off, we may have to play a little bit of catch up,” said former Vice Principal of Steve Laracuente. “Because it looks like this school has stopped a few programs.”

Moving forward, Ramos and his former colleagues want to establish their own board of directors with majority of them deaf.

“People who are experts in deaf education, representatives from the deaf community, perhaps even students who can give feedback to the school on how they can improve.”

“We must get away from DOE management, make us independent,” said Ramos. “Let us run the school, we know what’s best for deaf students.”

A spokeswoman from DOE released the following statement:

“The Department is in receipt of the arbitrator’s report and is reviewing and discussing next steps. We cannot discuss further details of this personnel matter at this time.”

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