The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas just sent word that the organization, in coordination with a U.N.-affiliated advocacy group called United Sikhs, sent out a letter warning Texas school districts -- including DISD -- to protect Sikh students from discrimination or bullying. The missive is after the jump.
The letter reminds the superintendents of state laws requiring schools to prohibit and take steps to prevent student harassment. "Because schools are responsible for ensuring the safety of all students," the letter reads, "we encourage you to actively monitor the treatment of Sikh students by their classmates and teachers, and to take concrete steps to guarantee that they are not subjected to bullying, harassment, or intimidation."
According to the ACLU of Texas press release, the letter was sent "directly to school districts where problems have been reported," though when we called spokeswoman Dotty Griffith for a clarifification, she said the move was more of a preventive measure. United Sikhs "knew of complaints in general, and we joined with them to reach out to school districts with a significant number of Sikhs and inform them of the rights of religious expression and the obligations of the law," says the former Dallas Morning News food critic. "It was more of a preemptive thing just in case there are problems."
OK, so are discrimination, bullying or abuse happening against Sikhs at local schools?
"We're not aware of any incidents," DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander told us. "For years DISD had been a leader in adopting and enforcing anti-harassment policies that extend both to students and employees. If there's an issue at any particular school, it should be reported immediately so it can be investigated promptly."
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