Press Release (For Immediate Release
September 3, 2008, 11:30 a.m.)
NYC Department of Education Releases Chancellor's Regulation to Prevent Bias-Based Harassment and Bullying in Schools
1.1. Million Students to be Affected by New Regulation Championed by the Sikh Coalition and Community Groups; Coalition is Cautiously Optimistic
Contact Amardeep Singh, (212) 655-3095, x 83 or (917) 628-0091 Sonny Singh, (212) 655-3095, x 86 or (917) 399-5493
Amardeep Singh, (212) 655-3095, x 83 or (917) 628-0091
Sonny Singh, (212) 655-3095, x 86 or (917) 399-5493
The new regulation, A-832, "establishes a procedure for the filing, investigation, and resolution of complaints of student-to-student bias-based harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying" (Regulation of the Chancellor A-832). Highlights of the regulation include:
"The Chancellor in June promised a new regulation this Fall 'that incorporates recommendations from the Sikh Coalition,'" said
The Sikh Coalition will continue to report on the DOE's performance in eliminating bias-based bullying in schools and work with the DOE to end bias in our schools.
The critical need for the new regulation stemmed in part from the high number of Sikh students being harassed in NYC schools. This June, two Sikh students were attacked in
This past April, the Sikh Coalition released a civil rights report, "Making Our Voices Heard: A Civil Rights Agenda for New York City Sikhs," which found that more than 60% of over 400 Sikh students that the Coalition surveyed had suffered bias-based harassment or violence in city schools because of their Sikh identity.
"This is a great day for
Though not included in the regulation, the DOE also announced that it will publish annual reports on bias-based harassment in individual schools. While the Sikh Coalition commends the DOE's commitment today to annual public reporting, the Coalition calls on the DOE to insert a public reporting requirement within the regulation itself. In addition, today's regulation governs student-to-student harassment only. The Coalition would like to see the regulation cover harassment by any DOE employee on school premises or at a school function. The Sikh Coalition's "Making Our Voices Heard" report found that 5% of bias incidents against Sikh school students originated from Department staff.
All these items were a part of the Dignity in All Schools Act, passed by the City Council in 2004. The DOE has declined to implement the Act on the disputed basis that the City Council has no jurisdiction over its conduct.
The Coalition looks forward to enhancing the regulation where necessary in the coming months and years and also working with the DOE to ensure that city schools are bias-free environments for all school children. The Sikh Coalition believes that today's announcement demonstrates strong movement to end bias in schools on the part of the Department.
"I hope this new policy means that other students won't have to go through what I went through," stated Jagmohan Singh Premi, who was violently attacked on June 3, 2008 at
"While this new regulation is an important step, it is only half the battle," stated Sonny Singh, Sikh Coalition Community Organizer. "We will continue to review the safety of Sikh students in city schools and work to ensure that the regulation is fully implemented on the ground. The Sikh Coalition and our allies will continue our watchdog role. We will also continue to work with the DOE to secure new changes and enhancements to the regulation."