New Jersey Sikhs Meet with Department of Education to Discuss Bias in Schools

May 26, 2006


On May 26, 2006 reported, "New Jersey Sikhs met with Department of Education Acting Commissioner Lucille Davey to discuss ensuring Sikh school children are free from bias and harassment. Assembly Member Upendra Chivukula initiated and organized the meeting held in Trenton. Sikh students, community leaders, and school guidance counselors attended the meeting with Commissioner Davey. Utilizing powerpoint presentations and first hand accounts, the delegation emphasized the need for basic education in New Jersey schools on Sikhs and Sikh practices. A Sikh child who attends school in Edison, New Jersey also attended the meeting. A classmate harassed and physically attacked the Sikh student because he found his long hair and turban unusual. Community leaders explained that after they were given an opportunity to conduct diversity training for the school’s staff and students, harassment against the Sikh student ended. 'We contacted the school’s principal and offered to do education for students and staff on diversity and Sikh practices,' said Guruparkash Singh, a community volunteer and activist. 'Basic education went a long way to build a climate of understanding.' Community leaders requested that the Department of Education facilitate the Sikh community’s efforts to conduct diversity training at local schools. Leaders also requested that information on Sikhs be included in the state’s core curriculum requirements."