Civil rights advocates representing broad sectors of communities gathered at the downtown offices of the Asian Law Caucus (ALC) recently to call attention to the rising incidence of bias-related harassment of Asian Pacific American youth in California’s public schools.
Race, ethnicity, religion, disability, and sexual orientation were cited as the most common factors that instigate harassment, ridicule, and threat of violence in the schools. . .
In 2000, the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act, AB 537, was implemented to prohibit discriminatory harassment and violence in schools.
More recently, California Assembly member Lloyd Levine authored the Safe Place to Learn Act (AB 394) requiring the state’s education department to play an active role in ensuring full and proper implementation of existing anti-discrimination laws that apply to schools.
“This problem of school harassment will not go away without leadership by the Department of Education,” Lange insisted. “We look forward to the implementation of AB 394 and urge the Department to do more than the bare minimum required by this new law to ensure that all of our children know that they are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.” . . .
Reports of Muslim American students being harassed by both students and school employees are also becoming more frequent, according to Mahrukh Hasan, civil rights coordinator for the Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
“In one recent case handled by CAIR and the ALC, a school employee in Monterey repeatedly demanded that a 13-year-old girl remove her hijab, a headscarf she wore for religious reasons, in front of a cafeteria full of students,” Hasan recalled. (MORE)