Over 40 percent of New York City Sikh students who wear turbans to school have been physically harrassed and complaints to schools often go unheeded, a community group reported. Harassment includes hitting and punching, as well as disrespectful touching of the head, the Sikh Coalition said in a report released last week.The document, "Hatred in the Hallways: A Preliminary Report on Bias Against Sikh Students in New York City's Public Schools," said three out of four Sikh boys who go to school were teased or harassed due to their religious identity. Of 200 Sikh students surveyed, nearly a third said there was no response to their complaints to school authorities, according to information posted on the group's website, IANS reported Monday."If we expect students to excel, they have to be given an environment free of fear and intimidation. The department of education ... (has) to understand that harassment does exist in schools. When administrators turn a blind eye to that harrassment, they in turn tacitly approve of even more harassment," city council member John Liu said.The report comes barely two weeks after two students of Pakistani origin attacked a Sikh student in Queens and cut his hair. Prosecutors charged the suspects with a hate crime.After the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, American Sikhs have been confused with Muslims and subjected to revenge attacks.
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