THE PROBLEM

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.

THE SOLUTION

From February through March of 2023, more than 2,000 U.S.-based Sikh students ages 9 to 18 completed the Sikh Student Survey. The survey asked questions about bullying, their interactions with both peers and staff, their knowledge of bullying reporting procedures, the microaggressions they face, and whether the classroom policies and conversations allow them to not just practice their faith freely, but share and celebrate it. After analyzing this survey data, the Sikh Coalition—along with our California-based academic colleagues, research partner Dr. Kavita Kaur Atwal and research consultant Dr. Erin Knight—have emerged with a comprehensive and current sense of school climate for Sikh youth across the country. These findings, along with recommendations and resources, are detailed in “Where Are You Really From?” A National Sikh School Climate Report.

  • % of Sikh students experienced bullying
  • + policy recommendations included in WAYRF
  • + sevadaars involved in survey collection

“Our findings in Where Are You Really From? validate years of our work alongside Sikh students, parents, and community members across the nation. We know that our youth experience bullying; now, we have the data to show the depth of the problem—and to back up a wide range of solutions to make our schools safer and more inclusive for all students. With this report as our latest tool, we will continue to fight for Sikh students to feel safe and seen in their educational environments.”

Dr. Rucha Kaur, Sikh Coalition Community Development Director and WAYRF principal author

IMPACT

In Where Are You Really From?, the Sikh Coalition was able draw numerous conclusions about Sikh students’ experiences with bullying, including:

  • 78% of students reported experiencing behavior that qualifies as bullying, but only 49% said they were bullied;
  • 77% of Sikh male students with dastaars or patkas reported being bullied at least once; male Sikh students are generally facing higher rates of discrimination and more violent forms of bullying in schools;
  • A shocking 11% of Sikh students reported being bullied by or facing discrimination from teachers or school staff;
  • 74% of Sikh students said they know how to report bullying at their school, but 46% report “never” or “almost never” doing so; and
  • Additional conclusions regarding school inclusivity, student mental health, microaggressions, and more.

The report also includes more than 50 recommendations for federal and state officials, state and local education officials, and school administrators and educators, as well as an updated step-by-step guide for parents who are concerned that their child is facing bullying and further such resources and guidance.

GET INVOLVED

In the weeks and months ahead, the Sikh Coalition will mobilize sangat members and allies for advocacy efforts based on the report’s conclusions and recommendations. Sign up for updates, including the opportunity to speak before your local school board about these findings, at thesikh.co/WAYRF-take-action.