Settlement with Dekalb Schools to Address Bullying Based on Religion and National Origin

Amid all of the bickering over the Druid Hills charter petition and subsequent desire to annex with the City of Atlanta, there was a very important case happening in the U.S. Department of Justice involving DeKalb schools. You have never heard this discussed at a board meeting and you have never heard anything about the anti-bullying programs that must be in place according to the timeline created by the U.S. Department of Justice. The demands placed on DeKalb schools to implement these anti-bullying programs according to a very short timetable will be a large under-taking. We have no information regarding DeKalb’s response to the demands of the U.S. DOJ. It was not discussed at the December board meeting nor at the December meeting of the Committee of the Whole.

NEW YORK, USA (November 21, 2014)—On November 18, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it had entered into a second settlement agreement with the DeKalb County School District, near Atlanta, Georgia. This settlement agreement resulted from a complaint originally filed by the Sikh Coalition in 2013 on behalf of a DeKalb County Sikh student, who had been repeatedly bullied and harassed on the basis of his actual or perceived religion and national origin. This second settlement agreement will require DeKalb County to engage in comprehensive measures to prevent and respond to complaints of peer-to-peer bullying and harassment of its 100,000 students, including Sikh students, based on their religion and/or national origin.

This second settlement agreement demonstrates the commitment that the Sikh Coalition has made to ensure that all students are protected from bullying – in the true spirit of sarbat dha bhalla.

The Sikh student, who wears a turban, was bullied for years and referred to as “Osama,” a “terrorist,” and “curryhead,” told he has a “bomb on his head,” and to “go back to your country.” The Sikh Coalition’s Legal Program represented the student before DeKalb County and the DOJ. The student’s complaint was initially resolved with a settlement agreement issued in May 2013. The first settlement agreement required DeKalb County to create an individualized safety plan for the Sikh student and train students and staff at his former middle school and current high school on post-9/11 backlash and discrimination.

Following the May 2013 settlement, the DOJ continued to scrutinize DeKalb County’s overall policies and handling of harassment complaints based on religion and national origin for all of its students. This review led to yesterday’s seminal settlement agreement which, in part, requires DeKalb County to provide annual age and position appropriate training to more than 100,000 students and staff on the “root causes of religious and national origin harassment and the harms resulting from such conduct, including but not limited to issues related to post-9/11 backlash and the perpetuation of negative stereotypes impacting the Sikh, Muslim, South Asian, and Arab-American communities.”

To the Sikh Coalition’s knowledge, this is the first district-wide post-9/11 backlash training to be implemented by an American school district.

The agreement also requires DeKalb County to translate essential information about discipline and procedures on bullying complaints for Limited English Proficient parents in a language that they can understand.

Read the original article here >> Settlement with Georgia School District to Address Bullying Based on Religion and National Origin

For details on the decision, read here >> From the U.S. Attorney’s Office: DCSD Reaches Settlement Agreement with Federal Authorities for Harassment Based on Religion and National Origin

To see that this is not a new problem, read here >> 1,900 Bullying Cases Found In Atlanta Schools – DeKalb leads the way

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About dekalbschoolwatch

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This entry was posted in Board of Education Meetings, Bullying, DeKalb County, Georgia, Georgia Education, Michael Thurmond, SACS/Accreditation, Student Information, Workplace Bullies and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Settlement with Dekalb Schools to Address Bullying Based on Religion and National Origin

  1. sawyerbrown68 says:

    I found this wonderful piece while searching for Lakeside news stories on the internet that may give some balance to the Sikh-Dekalb settlement. The story is at

    http://www.11alive.com/story/life/2014/12/08/clarkston-cross…/19521003/

    I have to give credit where credit is due. I call your attention to this redeeming noble gesture:

    “……….he began working with Clarkston High’s principal, Michelle Jones, several years ago to see how the two schools could support each other in academics and sports.”

    I salute the boys and girls of the Lakeside cross country team!

  2. Sawyer – that was a great story – we shared it when it happened and it warmed our hearts! Same thing for the Dunwoody HS kids naming two well-loved students in special ed there as prom king an queen. We really do have some endearing, caring students! We hope they serve as a shining example to those who would treat others harshly.

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