Asian American students in New York schools bullied

Washington–Nearly half the Asian American students in the New York City school system surveyed by two civic rights groups have said they’ve been bullied, according to a new report.

The report by the Asian American Legal Defence and Education Fund and the Sikh Coalition, suggests that a 2008 bias-based harassment measure has not yet substantially diminished harassment faced by Asian American students in New York public schools.

The Sikh Coalition’s Amardeep Singh said 25 percent of 163 students surveyed for the report “One Step Forward, Half a Step Back,” said they also suffered from physical violence, especially for Muslims and Sikhs.

“I think that post 9/11 dynamic exacerbates school bullying for that segment of the Asian American community,” he said.

“On paper the city’s school bullying prevention regulation is generally strong,” the report said noting “It provides clear guidance on defining, responding, tracking, and ultimately addressing bias-based harassment.”

However, “there are significant gaps in the regulation’s implementation,” the report said highlighting “the city’s refusal to publish the data it collects on school bullying incidents throughout the city.”

While the regulation mandates collection of such data, it does not require its publication.

The report reveals that only 16 percent of those who reported bullying to their schools received a written report from their school, as required by the regulation.

Less than half of the bullying victims surveyed reported that their school met the regulation’s requirement of parental notification of bullying incidents.

“I have both seen and experienced bullying in my school,” Pawanpreet Singh, a junior at a High School in the Bronx, was quoted as saying.

“Teachers and students too often don’t know there are rules against bullying or don’t care. The adults in our lives need to create a better environment for students so that we can focus on our studies rather than worrying about the bully down the hall,” he said.

The report also acknowledged that the city’s school bullying prevention regulation has had success in making the issue of bias-based harassment more visible.

Almost two-thirds of students reported seeing the regulation-required “Respect for All” (RFA) posters in schools.

“This is a significant increase from the 27 percent of students who reported seeing these posters during the organizations’ 2009 survey of students.”

“Similarly, while it is troubling that parents are notified of bullying incidents less than half the time, this is still double the number of students who reported parental notification during the 2009 survey,” it said.

The report’s recommendations to the New York education department include required publication of yearly data on harassment incidents, trainings for all staff on regulation procedures such as restorative justice methods, and full compliance with the city’s bullying prevention regulation.—IANS