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US justice department voices concern over Sikh student's harassment

By Lalit K Jha
May 08, 2013 18:37 IST
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Raising concerns over the harassment of a Sikh student in Georgia for wearing turban and being called a 'terrorist', the United States justice department has rapped the school administration for not taking enough steps to prevent such 'verbal and physical' abuse.

A complaint in this regard was filed to the department of justice by a non-governmental Sikh coalition against the DeKalbCountySchool district in Georgia, alleging that the student had been repeatedly targeted with verbal and physical harassment because of his Sikh faith, the federal body said on Tuesday.

As a result of the investigation, the school administration has agreed to take steps to implement anti-harassment training at the student's middle and high school.

The justice department said the school had not investigated witness's statements regarding the student being called a 'terrorist' and that there was a history of fellow students targeting him because of his turban.

"Students of all faiths must be protected from harassment and other forms of discrimination," said Jocelyn Samuels, principal deputy assistant attorney general for the civil rights division.

Following an inquiry into the student-specific complaints, the department notified the school of its concerns that it had failed to respond promptly and appropriately to the Sikh Coalition's allegations of harassment, including that the student was called ‘Aladdin’ because he wore a turban and was told by a fellow student to ‘go back to his country’.

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Lalit K Jha in Washington, DC
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