According to multiple Sikh Coalition surveys, Sikh American students experience high rates of bullying and harassment in our nation’s public schools–and we continue receiving and documenting nationwide reports of school bullying. Sikh boys who wear turbans are called “terrorists,” while Sikh girls are teased for having long hair; some children are even subjected to violence. Bullying occurs not only on school grounds but also on school buses and increasingly on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and anonymous mobile phone apps. Despite the growing recognition of bullying as a national problem, lawmakers and school officials do not collect comprehensive bullying data and are inconsistent in their enforcement of anti-bullying policies.
The Sikh Coalition takes a holistic and proactive approach to preventing and ending bullying. Through direct surveys of Sikh American youth, we gain first-hand knowledge of the nature and extent to which they experience bullying. We are systematically sharing this information with local school officials and state superintendents to proactively address the problem at the community level. Simultaneously, we are asking federal policymakers to collect better data and amplifying the voices of Sikh Americans who experience bullying. In addition, we are actively pursuing legal cases to pursue justice for Sikhs whose schools have failed to adequately address the issue.
- % of turbaned Sikh children report being bullied in school
- x the national average
- 00,000 Georgia students are safer
Because of the courage of Sikh American students who have shared their stories, the Sikh Coalition has published authoritative reports on school bullying, which have been cited by local and federal agencies. The Sikh Coalition has actively partnered with the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Congress, and the White House to organize studies and briefings on anti-Sikh bullying. Our partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice resulted in a groundbreaking legal settlement with a Georgia school district, resulting in revamped bullying policies that protect over 100,000 students.
I’ve learned that no one should be bullied for practicing their religion...I have also become very involved with other Sikh youth at my local gurdwara because I want to show them that despite the bullying problem, they can still embrace their Sikhi without fear.
Akashdeep Singh, New Jersey high school student and former Sikh Coalition legal client