Sikh high school student suspended with bullies who allegedly assaulted him and knocked off his turban

A National Sikh Coalition is calling for an investigation after Sikh students at Whiteland Community High School in Indiana were allegedly subjected to “serious bias-motivated harassment and physical assault.”

The targeted students were in the school cafeteria when another group of students would have hit a classmate’s turban from his head during filming. Another student was allegedly physically and verbally attacked with racial slurs as he tried to stop the band from recording.

The assaulted student was later treated for his injuries, but the school would have suspended him along with the other students involved.

“I am shaken by what happened to me and frustrated to be punished for being targeted and beaten,” the student said in a statement released by the Sikh Coalition. “Attacking another person’s faith – hitting my turban – is completely unacceptable. No one should have to face this threat anywhere, let alone at school.

The American Sikh advocacy group which defends the civil rights of Sikhs noted that the assault is not the first instance of bullying against Sikh students at school.

“We believe there is a pattern of bullying of Punjabi Sikh students – particularly those wearing turbans – which has not been addressed by WCHS administrators,” said Sikh Coalition Legal Director , Amrith Kaur Aakre. “We expect school officials to address this concern, rescind our client’s suspension and provide him with tutoring for the instruction he has now missed, and share a plan for his safety and that of other students like him.”

The coalition, which has offered legal support to students, said, “There is a broad failure at WCHS when it comes to bias-based bullying,” and is now demanding justice from school officials.

According to the school district, local law enforcement and school administrators are currently investigating the incident, since February 25.

“Clark-Pleasant Schools wants all members of the school community to know that we will not tolerate any type of racism, sectarian violence or discrimination in our schools and we have worked tirelessly to create a culture that supports diversity, l equity and inclusion within the school. district”, the district said in a report.

“The Superintendent’s Office has reached out to several department heads for information that will help all students better understand The Warrior Way of being responsible, being respectful, and being safe!” they added.

Featured image via Stickman42 / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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