Attacks against Sikh students in NY schools


New York : Over 40 percent of Sikh students who wear turbans to schools here have been subjected to some form of physical harassment, and a community group says that complaints to schools often go unheeded.

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The harassment has included hitting and punching, besides disrespectful touching of the head, said a report brought out by Sikh Coalition, a US based group.

The document, "Hatred in the Hallways: A Preliminary Report on Bias Against Sikh Students in New York City's Public Schools," was released last week.

It found that three out of four Sikh boys who go to school have been teased or harassed on account of their religious identity.

Of 200 Sikh students who where surveyed, nearly a third said there was no response to their complaints to school authorities and nothing was ever done, according to information posted on the group's website.

"If we expect students to excel, they have to be given an environment free of fear and intimidation. The department of education … (has) to understand that harassment does exist in schools. When administrators turn a blind eye to that harrassment, they in turn tacitly approve of even more harassment." New York city council member John Liu said after the release of the report.

The report comes barely a fortnight after two students of Pakistani origin attacked a Sikh student in Queens, New York, and cut his hair. Prosecutors have charged the alleged perpetrator with hate crime.

Post 9/11, Sikhs in the US have been confused with Muslims and subjected to violent attacks.