Through previous research efforts and anecdotal information–including more than 20 years of providing legal services to Sikh families–the Sikh Coalition knows that bullying, classroom discussions of representation, and other factors directly affect how Sikh students in the United States are able to learn, grow, and flourish. Hard data on these experiences, however, are difficult to find; Sikhs remain underrepresented in many initiatives, including educational surveys, and teachers and administrators often display limited cultural competency. The Sikh Coalition, as the largest Sikh civil rights organization in the United States, has not produced a comprehensive report on Sikh students’ experiences since 2014.
Throughout February and March of 2023, in collaboration with our California-based research partners Dr. Kavita Atwal and Dr. Erin Knight, the Sikh Coalition conducted the Sikh Student Survey: our most comprehensive push to hear from Sikh students aged 9 to 18 across the United States about their experiences in their schools. With our partners–including 60 participating gurdwaras–we received roughly 2,200 surveys from students in 21 different states across the nation. This work was accomplished by Sikh Coalition staff and sevadaars traveling to gurdwaras and Khalsa schools for direct engagement, and it was amplified by partner organizations, Instagram Live sessions, and media outreach. The Sikh Coalition team is grateful to all the students, parents, teachers, community members, partners, and sevadaars who helped us in this tremendous undertaking!
- surveys collected
- gurdwara partners
- states across the nation
“The [Sikh Student Survey] showed us that our community mobilizes and comes together in the face of a shared goal: to better understand how we can serve Sikh students. Data drives change, and in order to develop effective policy solutions to combat hate in our schools, educators, parents, policymakers, and mental health professionals must understand the scope of our children's experiences and needs.”
Rucha Kaur, Sikh Coalition Community Development Director
The data from the Sikh Student Survey will be used to draw conclusions about common experiences of Sikh youth, which in turn will inform future recommendations to policymakers, school officials, and educators. This includes advocating for state and federal policies that protect students, campaigning for Sikh inclusion in state education standards, training educators to teach about Sikhi in the classroom, and more.
Our academic partners and our team are currently analyzing the data gathered, but you can expect more information about the results of the survey–and the policy recommendations that are informed by those results–in the months to come.