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The Sikh Coalition News
May 21, 2020
  • Justice for Sikh Student in New Jersey

    May 21, 2020 (Woodbury, New Jersey) -- This week, the Sikh Coalition joined with co-counsel at the Law Offices of Brian M. Cige to file a complaint against the Gloucester County Special Services School District Board of Education, located in Sewell, New Jersey.

    The complaint addresses the case of a Sikh student (who remains anonymous, because they are still a minor) who suffered under a pattern of bullying since 2018. Despite being subjected to racial epithets and instances of bullying and harassment to the point that they were pulled out of school, the student’s pleas for help from the School District have been repeatedly brushed aside by educators and administrators.

    “We are grateful that the Sikh Coalition and the Law Offices of Brian M. Cige have helped us to take this additional step in demanding accountability from the School Board,” said the student’s mother. “While the educational authorities in Gloucester County have made it clear that they are unwilling to help my child, I am hopeful that a civil court will recognize this clear case of bullying and take decisive action.”

    Prior to the filing of this complaint, the Sikh Coalition worked with the family to formally appeal the negative finding of the School District’s initial investigation. Unfortunately, both the first investigation and the appeal ended with the School Board refusing to take corrective action; officials insisted on characterizing obviously bias-motivated attacks as ‘nicknames,’ and downplayed the extent of the bullying that the Sikh student experienced.

    “Our top priority is ensuring a quick and safe path for this child to return to a healthy learning environment,” said Giselle Klapper, Sikh Coalition Senior Staff Attorney. “However, it is also important that the School Board recognize and remedy how their investigation failed to acknowledge--let alone appropriately respond to--the obvious bias driving this bullying behavior. We must protect all students from this kind of harassment moving forward.”

    Given that this civil case is just beginning, we look forward to providing further updates in the near future. In the meantime, if you or a Sikh child you know is experiencing bullying in or out of the classroom, please know you can reach out to our legal team for free expert assistance.

    As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.
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