New NY school rules on bullying prompted by Sikh cases

September 4th, 2008 - 8:55 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Sep 4 (IANS) New York now has rules and regulations, prompted partly by attacks on Sikh students, to combat bullying in schools based on bias and prejudices.”Simply put, there is just no place for prejudice or hate or bullying in our schools,” said New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was accompanied by Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein as he announced the rules Wednesday.

The new school policy is intended to prevent intimidation and harassment based on ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

In more serious cases reported, two Sikh students were attacked in Queens schools in June.

On June 3, Jagmohan Singh Premi was punched in the face after a student intentionally attempted to remove his patka at the Richmond Hill High School.

On June 9, Gurprit Kaur, a student in a Flushing school, found another student had cut off a portion of her religiously mandated uncut hair and discarded it.

Under the new regulations, every principal will have to designate a points person to whom students can report bullying, and schools will be required to report complaints to the Department of Education within 24 hours.

The schools will have to investigate the complaints within five days and contact the families of students accused of bias-based harassment. A written report will have to be made for the alleged victim of the results of an incident within 10 days.

A report of the complaints, listed by school, will be made public on the internet at the end of each school year.

“This is a great day for New York City’s school children,” said Chancellor Klein. “We expect our schools to be free of bias-based bullying, and today’s announcement will help us achieve that goal.”

For creating the new regulations, Klein highlighted the role played by the Sikh Coalition and its allies, particularly the Asian American Legal Defence and Education Fund as well as the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families.

Sikh Coalition executive director Amardeep Singh said: “We believe today’s announcement to be groundbreaking movement in the right direction.

“The number of Sikh children being harassed in New York schools is an epidemic,” he said and pointed out that Sikhs took to the streets in June to urge the education department to take immediate steps to end bigotry against Sikh children.

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