in the Hallways: Sikh students attacked in NY schools
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center "the number
of hate crimes was probably closer to 50,000" than the 8,000
annual figure reported by the FBI.
The dimension of the hate crimes problem in America may be drastically
underestimated due to a voluntary reporting system that results
in significant underreporting of these crimes.
The Sikh Coalition including four New York City Council
Members today to release a first ever research report on bias
against Sikh children in New York City Schools:
- More than 58 percent of Sikh students in New York City public
schools have been the victims of name-calling, threats or physical
abuse due to their religion.
- More than 75 percent of male Sikh students who live in Queens
have been subjected to teasing or harassment
- More than 18 percent of Sikhs have been told they look like
terrorists by other students
- Most of the harassed student said that their school administrators
failed to provide any assistance following complaints
The Title of the report “Hatred in the Hallways,”
was not scheduled for publication until September.
John Liu, the City Councilman requested for immediate action
to protect Sikh students and have accused Schools Chancellor Joel
Klein and the Department of Education of turning a blind eye to
The Coalition issued the Hatred in the Hallways report
in response to the hair cutting incident involving a Sikh student
in Elmhurst, Queens, New York:
- On May 25, 2007, a Pakistani student, 17, allegedly forced
Vacher Harpal, his 15-year-old Sikh classmate, into a bathroom
at his Queens school, removed his turban and chopped his waist-length
hair to his neck.
- Amardeep Singh, the executive director of the coalition, said
that Harpal had complained about harassment by other students
on five separate occasions before the incident, but administrators
had done little to intervene. “That is not acceptable.
That is not what New York is about
- Prosecutors have charged the alleged perpetrator with hate
In America, only the Sikhs wear turban! The Coalition calls on
all Sikhs to stand up for their rights and fearlessly maintain
their articles of faith
A host of religious and civil rights organizations joined the
Coalition at the press conference to express solidarity between
all communities in ensuring all children are safe at schools.
These and other organizations also joined the Coalition in signing
a joint statement on the issue.Thes were: