September 6, 2013 (New York, NY) – The Sikh Coalition and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) released their third report in five years documenting bullying of Sikh and Asian American students in New York City public schools. The new report, “One Step Forward, Half a Step Back,” reveals that the city’s 2008 bias-based harassment measure, Chancellor’s Regulation A-832, has not yet substantially diminished harassment faced by Sikh and Asian students in city public schools.
“I have both seen and experienced bullying in my school,” said Pawanpreet Singh, a Junior at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx and a student leader at the Junior Sikh Coalition, an empowerment group for young Sikhs. “Teachers and students too often do not know there are rules against bullying or don’t care. The adults in our lives need to create a better environment for students so that we can focus on our studies rather than worrying about the bully down the hall.”
The report's key findings include:
- Over 50% of children surveyed said they suffered bullying in school
- Parents received notification of bullying incidents only 40% of the time
- Over 80% of the time, city schools failed to provide a required written report of school bullying incidents to students
Read the full the report here
Click here for pictures from the press conference
““The problem lies in lack of thorough implementation of key procedures -- including staff training and documented follow-ups to reported incidents – that are the very teeth of the regulation.,” says Khin Mai Aung, Educational Equity Director at AALDEF.
One significant gap area highlighted by the report is the city’s refusal to publish the data it collects on school bullying incidents throughout the city. While the regulation mandates collection of such data, it does not require its publication.
“New York City Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Education regularly publish data on every aspect of city school performance with the notable exception of school bullying,” said Amardeep Singh, Program Director of The Sikh Coalition. “The city has five years of data on school bullying now. It should publish it yearly so that we can all play a part in diagnosing the problem, solving it, and holding each other collectively responsible for our results.”
While pointing out gap areas, the report also points to improvements as well. Almost two-thirds of students reported seeing the regulation-required “Respect for All” (RFA) posters in schools. Similarly, while it is troubling that parents are notified of bullying incidents less than half the time, this is still double the number of students who reported parental notification during the Sikh Coalition’s and AALDEF’s 2009 survey.
The report offers The Sikh Coalition and AALDEF’s recommendations to the city, including publication of yearly data on harassment incidents and mandatory training for all staff on bullying prevention procedures. AALDEF and The Sikh Coalition will continue to work with educators and policymakers to combat bias-based harassment for the city’s growing Sikh and Asian American student population
Past Sikh Coalition Reports
(2011) Bullying in New York City Schools: Educators Speak Out
(2009) Bias-Based Harassment in New York City Public Schools: A Report Card
(2007) Hatred in the Hallways: A Preliminary Report on Bias Against Sikh Students in New York City Public Schools