In Georgia, the DeKalb County School District in Stone Mountain recently reached a settlement agreement with the US Department of Justice in the case of a Sikh student who was harassed and bullied in a middle school in their district:
The complaint said school officials did nothing to help the boy, who had allegedly been subjected to verbal and physical harassment because of his Sikh faith. According to the complaint, a student had tried to cut the boy’s hair, he was called “Aladdin” because he wore a turban and he was told by a peer he could go back to his country.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, the “Department has authority to investigate and resolve complaints of religious and national origin harassment through its enforcement of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” While the District admitted no wrongdoing in their settlement with the Department of Justice, they are required to take steps to ensure the safety of the Sikh student in their schools:
The settlement agreement, which will be in effect until the end of the 2014‑2015 school year, requires the school district to work with a consultant to develop and implement anti‑harassment training that addresses religious and national origin bias at both the Student’s middle and high school. The agreement also requires the district to immediately implement a safety plan for the Student that will ensure that the Student is safe when he is at school and should incidents of harassment occur, that the district responds quickly and effectively to address the incident. In order to prepare for the Student’s transition to high school, the agreement also requires the school district to meet with the student, his family, and administrators from his middle and high school to identify key school personnel who can support the Student should any incidents of harassment occur at his new school.
The DeKalb County School District was reportedly cooperative in reaching the settlement, according to United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates:
“I am encouraged by DeKalb County’s willingness to take immediate steps to ensure that students attending DeKalb County schools are free of this type of harassment and bullying.”
[Above video: Documentary “Neel” by David Woo about a Sikh student and the harassment he faced in school.]