Sikh Coalition Invited to Speak at New York City Council Hearing
On June 13, 2011, the Sikh Coalition was invited by the New York City Council Committee on Education to testify at a hearing on school bullying. Our testimony focused on the school bullying crisis facing Sikh students in New York City public schools, arguing that schools are not effectively protecting their students from harm and are taking too casual an approach in addressing bullying. We recommended that Congress pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act and Student Non-Discrimination Act, fully implement Chancellor’s Regulation A-832 and expand the Regulation so it addresses staff-to-student bias-based bullying as well.
Present at the hearing were New York City Council members, including Sikh Coalition allies Daniel Dromm and Mark Weprin of Queens. Using data from a Sikh Coalition report, Bullying in New York City Schools: Educators Speak Out, Council members questioned the Department of Education on the delay in carrying out their promised regulations to protect New York City students and their failure to fully implement Chancellor’s Regulation A-832.
Chancellor’s Regulation A-832, adopted in 2008 as a result of a grassroots campaign, spearheaded by the Sikh Coalition and our allies, established an annual diversity training program entitled Respect for All and a procedure for preventing and addressing student-to-student bias-based harassment in New York City public schools. According to our research, only 14 percent of teachers and staff surveyed said that the Chancellor’s Regulation and the Respect for All program were “effective” or “very effective” in addressing bullying and bigotry in their schools; although the two-day Respect for All training is available to all teachers, only about 30 percent said their school even offered the training.
The Sikh Coalition will continue to fight for a safe and healthy learning environment for all children in the United States. As always, we urge Sikhs everywhere to fearlessly maintain their articles of faith. If you or your children are being bullied, teased or physically hurt at school because of your Sikh identity, please contact us immediately at email@example.com.