October 4, 2014 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Washington, DC (Oct. 04): Drawing on research reports published by the Sikh Coalition, 30 members of the United States Congress signed letters this week urging the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education to strengthen protections against school bullying.
The letters were spearheaded by Rep. Mike Honda—Chairman of the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus—and joined by leaders of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, including Reps. David Valadao, Judy Chu, and John Garamendi.
According to Sikh Coalition research, a majority of Sikh American students experience school bullying. Although severe bullying is a civil rights violation, very few Sikh American families actually report it to authorities. To bridge this gap, the new Congressional letters call on federal agencies to improve data collection for bullying incidents affecting the Sikh American community.
In addition, the new Congressional letters call upon federal agencies to communicate proactively with minority communities about resources that are available to prevent and address school bullying. For example, civil rights agencies can visit Gurdwaras more frequently to document cases of bullying and provide legal representation against problem schools when appropriate.
The Sikh Coalition says that the people’s voices have made difference in this matter. A statement by the Sikh Coalition says: [t]his summer, Sikh Coalition supporters sent more than 1500 messages to their elected representatives to raise awareness about bullying against Sikh American children. We are confident that the new Congressional letters will encourage federal agencies to give increased priority to the civil rights of children who experience bullying at school.
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