' I like my new school and my new teacher. It's only a week, but it's a better place for me so far," said Jagmohan Singh after his first week of school.
Jagmohan has One Set of Attorneys to Look After his Educational Needs
Jagmohan has Another Set of Attorneys to Ensure he Receives Justice for Past Wrongs
Jagmohan and All School Children Have the Coalition to Fight for Systematic Change
We Need Your Support to Continue this Work For All Sikhs
(Richmond Hill, NY) October 24, 2008 - School hate crime victim Jagmohan Singh Premi just began a new school year with high hopes. Jagmohan now has the best law firms in the country working to ensure he receives justice for the attacks against him and is placed in a school that meets his educational needs.
During his two years at Richmond Hill High School, Jagmohan faced daily harassment and humiliation - his patka was often pulled off, his beard regularly yanked, and his speech patterns were mocked by students. Jagmohan learned little at school for two years as he endured violence and taunting.
Jagmohan's suffering culminated in a brutal hate attack in June 2008. His patka was ripped off by a fellow student and his orbital bone was fractured after he was punched.
Jagmohan's Education Needs: McDermott, Will & Emery and the Coalition Partner
Since June, Coalition staff met with Department of Education staff over half a dozen times to help place Jagmohan in a school where he will learn and not suffer.
Most importantly, this summer the law firm of McDermott, Will & Emery
(MWE) agreed to represent Jagmohan pro bono to ensure his educational needs are met. Jagmohan's family, along with Coalition's Community Organizer and attorneys from MWE attended several meetings this past September to coordinate Jagmohan's entry into a new school.
Jagmohan's family is very pleased with the services Jagmohan will be receiving at his new school. Until he becomes more English proficient, Jagmohan will have a Punjabi-speaking para-professional with him every day. The principal and staff at his new school have also assured his family of their commitment to a respectful, bias-free environment.
Ensuring Justice for Past Wrongs: Howrey Simon and the Coalition Partner
For years Jagmohan suffered violence and bigotry in school without redress. At the Coalition's request, this summer, the law firm of Howrey Simon agreed to pro bono represention of Jagmohan to seek justice for his past harassment in school.
Attorneys at Howrey Simon have filed a Notice of Claim, notifying the city that they intend to sue the Department of Education if necessary to redress the physical and other forms of harassment Jagmohan suffered in school. The Coalition and Howrey attorneys have also been monitoring disciplinary proceeding against the person who attacked Jagmohan in June.
By ensuring justice for Jagmohan, the Coalition hopes that school officials receive a clear message that Sikh children will not suffer in silence. As a community, Sikhs are prepared to seek justice.
Fighting for Systemic Change: The Coalition's Ongoing Monitoring Work
The Sikh community's activism
this summer led to a historic new Chancellor's Regulation
to address bias-based harassment. The new regulation, which was rolled out this school year, protects 1.1 million New York City school students of all backgrounds.
But the Coalition's work to protect Sikh children does not end with a new Chancellor's regulation.
Similar to the our work with the TSA, the Coalition plans to engage in ongoing surveying of Sikh students in New York City. The Coalition will then issue periodic Report Cards to the Department of Education on their performance in protecting children from bias-based harassment in school.
A new Regulation barring bias-based harassment is only as good as its implementation. Through monitoring and reporting, the Coalition intends to ensure that the Regulation is implemented so that no child endures the type of suffering Jagmohan endured.
A Note of Thanks
The Coalition thanks Amandeep Singh Sidhu, an Associate at McDermott, Will & Emery for his leadership in ensuring Jagmohan's educational needs are met. The Coalition also thanks Gurbir Singh Grewal, Counsel at Howrey Simon, for his leadership in ensuring justice for Jagmohan.
As always, the Coalition calls on all Sikhs to stand up for their rights and fearlessly maintain their articles of faith.