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Study Shows Bullying Of Sikh Students Still Problem In City Schools

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In light of new statistics from a joint study released on Thursday, anti-bullying advocates say city public schools still needs to make changes when it comes to protecting Asian American students, especially those of the Sikh faith. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

Anti-bullying advocates say name-calling and even physical violence is the reality in city schools for students of the Sikh faith.

Now, they say a new study backs them up.

"Over 50 percent of the kids in our community according to this report are suffering bias-based harassment. In the Sikh community, my religious community, 25 percent of the kids are reporting that they are the subject of physical violence," said Sikh Coalition Program Director Amardeep Singh.

The Sikh Coalition and Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund reported these statistics based on interviews with 163 Asian American students, even though the city implemented policies and procedures to crack down on bullying five years ago, including naming a point person in each school to handle bullying complaints.

"I feel like the regulation isn't enforced enough, because I feel like even if I go to a teacher and ask them about this, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't know anything, and I feel like school safety agents wouldn't know anything either," said DeWitt Clinton High School junior Pawanpreet Singh.

While Singh says classmates regularly hit his turban to get his attention when he was in middle school, the bullying isn't as bad in high school.

Others report that some schools are dealing with the bullying problem, but advocates say there's more work to be done.

"All school staff to have to have some kind of training about the regulation. We're hoping that the schools will fully comply with the regulation requirements to document incidents, to get back to students with a written report within ten days, to notify parents," said AALDEF Education Equity Program Director Khin Mai Aung.

The Department of Education says it takes bullying very seriously, and that students who have made a report and want more assistance can email them at respectforall@schools.nyc.gov.

The DOE also says that thousands of teachers have taken a course that prepares them to teach peer mediation and negotiation skills.

The advocate groups say they've demanded these changes for five years now, and they want more than lip service from the city.

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