U.S. Congressmen urge attorney general and education secretary to take steps to protect Sikh school kids


THIRTY U.S. Congressmen urge Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to take measures to protect Sikh school kids from harassment.

The Congressmen wrote: “We write to direct your attention to the unusually high rates of school bullying endured by Sikh American school children. We are interested in working with your Departments to discuss ways in which the federal agencies can better protect Sikh and other school children from bias based harassment.

“According to a national report issued by The Sikh Coalition, the majority of Sikh children, just over 50%, endure school bullying. The rate of school bullying is even worse for turbaned Sikh children. Over two-thirds, or 67%, report that they are bullied in school. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 32% of all students ages 12 to 18 report that they are bullied in school. Turbaned Sikh children therefore experience bullying at more than double the national rate.

“It is our understanding that while Sikh children endure bullying at high rates, Sikh American parents and children file complaints of school bullying at relatively low rates with your respective civil rights offices. We hope that your agencies will increase targeted outreach to particularly vulnerable communities like the Sikh American community so that they fully utilize federal resources. In addition, it is our understanding that federal data on the school bullying of Sikh American school children does not exist. In the absence of such data, diagnostic efforts are significantly undermined. We urge you to implement processes for collecting appropriate disaggregated data on bullying of all children.

“We thank you for considering our request that your Departments devote more attention to the challenges of Sikh American children to pursue their education in a safe and welcoming learning environment. We look forward to working with you to address this serious issue.”