REMINDER- For a right to education without harassment

REMINDER– If you’re in the New York area, take the morning off work/school on Monday and join the Sikh Coalition in a march to end harassment against Sikh students in public schools:

When: Monday, June 30th, 11:00AM
Where: Meet at Sikh Cultural Society: 95-30 118th Street or Gurdwara Baba Makhan Shah Labana: 113-01 101st Ave.

Why: 1) Sikh students have a right to attend school without fear of harassment for being Sikh, and 2) you can help future students have a better experience in school than you, your siblings, or your friends may have had!

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The violence against Sikhs in New York that the Sikh Coalition tracks, and reports is a representation/reflection of the violence that young Sikh students undergo in many areas of the US. In areas where we don’t hear about such violence, it’s not because it doesn’t occur, but because organizations like the Coalition don’t exist to track, report and respond to the violence. June_30th_March.jpgIdeally, we should all be able to respond to the needs of our local community, and I hope that we are building the capacity to do so in the near future. In the New York area, the Coalition is responding.

In the latest of a spate of attacks on Sikh students in New York, 12 year old Gurprit Kaur had part of her braid cut off and thrown in the trash. This occurred about a little over a year after another student’s hair was forcibly cut in the New York area in May of 2007. In response to the series of attacks on Sikh students in the New York (especially Richmond Hill) area, in the face of inaction by authorities after the group’s troubling findings on harassment in the school system, the Coalition is organizing a march on Richmond Hill High School. [Click on flyer for details.]

More about the attack on Gurprit:

On Monday, June 9, 2008 at approximately 11:00 am while in English class, Gurprit’s classmate told her that a portion of her braided hair had been cut off. Gurprit did not notice while her hair was being cut behind her back. Given the deep spiritual significance of her hair, Gurprit was extremely upset. She immediately conveyed her dismay to teachers.

Gurprit’s school conducted an investigation and within hours advised her that a classmate (a juvenile who shall remain nameless) had admitted to cutting her hair during a class they share together and where they sit next to each other. The school returned Gurprit’s hair to her wadded in a tissue. The perpetrator was suspended the same day.

If you’re in the New York area, please join the Sikh Coalition in this important event!

If you can’t attend the march because you’re too far, then make sure you sign the petition saying:

We are outraged that the New York City school system is failing Sikh children. We insist a plan be immediately implemented that protects each children from bias-based bullying. Additionally, we expect transparency on this issue. The School system needs a system to track and addresses bias-based bullying and share that information with the public… Our children have waited too long for the Department of Education to protect them. We demand immediate action.


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8 Responses to “REMINDER- For a right to education without harassment”

  1. P.Singh says:

    It breaks my heart to know Sikh children are still the target of this kind of abuse.

    I know many of us who read and/or contribute to this blog have gone through similar situations growing up. I'm sure many of us can still recall that horrible, suffocating feeling, knowing that you were going to be targeted with some hateful comment or action, and knowing there was no escape from it. To know that young Sikhs are going through the same and worse – it's an even worse feeling; at least we could speak up, take action for ourselves – how do we protect our kids?

    Thank God for the Sikh Coalition. They are doing an amazing job, and providing an avenue for all of us to help however we can. Whether by volunteering, participating in organized events, or by means of financial assistance, I hope all of us do our bit in supporting this organization, and other like-minded organizations.

  2. P.Singh says:

    It breaks my heart to know Sikh children are still the target of this kind of abuse.

    I know many of us who read and/or contribute to this blog have gone through similar situations growing up. I’m sure many of us can still recall that horrible, suffocating feeling, knowing that you were going to be targeted with some hateful comment or action, and knowing there was no escape from it. To know that young Sikhs are going through the same and worse – it’s an even worse feeling; at least we could speak up, take action for ourselves – how do we protect our kids?

    Thank God for the Sikh Coalition. They are doing an amazing job, and providing an avenue for all of us to help however we can. Whether by volunteering, participating in organized events, or by means of financial assistance, I hope all of us do our bit in supporting this organization, and other like-minded organizations.

  3. sizzle says:

    sikh coalition is great…glad they're on top of this, esp from a PR perspective.

    as backwards as it may seem in our increasingly sissified nation, the kid who commented a while back, who went to the school and was a classmate of the kid whose patka was lit up, had it right – hit back, and it's likely that this garbage won't happen again. it seems like the kids who have been victims of all this are very nice, docile, gentle children who are repeatedly victimized for years and merely complain to an apparently apathetic administration. every recent story follows this pattern. i can empathize – that's how i was when i was younger; my mom implored me to just roll with the abuse, stay out of trouble and that it would stop. she was wrong, and i wised up. as soon as i started fighting back verbally (and sometimes physically), most of the problems ended. i was suspended once, but, whatever…it's a cool story for the eventual bachay.

    lesson is, confrontation or being forceful is sometimes the way. so kids, go out there and beat some bully's ass. or just use your wits to humiliate him as the ignorant joke that he is.

  4. sizzle says:

    sikh coalition is great…glad they’re on top of this, esp from a PR perspective.

    as backwards as it may seem in our increasingly sissified nation, the kid who commented a while back, who went to the school and was a classmate of the kid whose patka was lit up, had it right – hit back, and it’s likely that this garbage won’t happen again. it seems like the kids who have been victims of all this are very nice, docile, gentle children who are repeatedly victimized for years and merely complain to an apparently apathetic administration. every recent story follows this pattern. i can empathize – that’s how i was when i was younger; my mom implored me to just roll with the abuse, stay out of trouble and that it would stop. she was wrong, and i wised up. as soon as i started fighting back verbally (and sometimes physically), most of the problems ended. i was suspended once, but, whatever…it’s a cool story for the eventual bachay.

    lesson is, confrontation or being forceful is sometimes the way. so kids, go out there and beat some bully’s ass. or just use your wits to humiliate him as the ignorant joke that he is.

  5. […] system has established a new process for reporting bias and bullying, prompted partially by Sikhs marching in Queens, led by the Sikh Coalition, two months ago: The new regulation which is intended to […]

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