The survey aims to ultimately make classrooms safer and more inclusive for all students
By hearing directly from Sikh students, we will be able to collect meaningful data showing the conditions in their schools:
Dr Kavita Kaur Atwal, academic
Racist attacks against the Sikh community have been a menace in American society for decades now. In fact, according to statistics, hate crimes against the Sikh community have been on the rise.
But now, to understand the deep-rooted causes of xenophobia and work towards its effective eradication, Sikh academics and civil rights organizations are coming together to study and understand the origin of racism against Sikh kids in American schools.
California based academics Dr Kavita Kaur Atwal and Dr Erin Knight have come together with Sikh Coalition, gurudwaras and Khalsa schools to launch a sweeping effort to survey Sikh American students about their experiences with bullying, classroom discussions of diversity and inclusion, and other aspects of school climate.
The anonymous survey includes approximately 30 questions. Children between the ages of 9 and 18 and currently attending school in the United States are encouraged to fill out this survey. In addition to digital outreach, the coalition is partnering with gurdwaras and Khalsa schools to reach hundreds of students directly.
Atwal, the leading academic researcher behind the survey said, “By hearing directly from Sikh students, we will be able to collect and present meaningful data showing how the conditions in their schools are or are not helping them to learn and grow.”
“We know, anecdotally, that there is a gap between the lived experiences of Sikh youth and the understanding of school climate from the perspective of educators, administrators, and even parents,” she said.
The data from the survey will be used to draw conclusions about common experiences of Sikh youth, which in turn will inform future recommendations to policymakers, school officials, and educators.
This includes advocating for state and federal policies that protect students, training educators to teach about Sikhi in the classroom, and more. The Sikh Coalition believes that representation matters, and that Sikh students deserve to have their stories told and their experiences learned from.
Rucha Kaur, Sikh coalition community development director, says, “Through our campaigns to bring Sikhi into state social studies standards, train educators to teach about Sikhi in the classroom, and empower Sikh parents to engage their children’s teachers, we have come to understand the impact that data makes in driving policy changes at educational institutions.”
“In undertaking this survey with partners across the nation and using the results to create a comprehensive report, we can ensure that the experiences of Sikh youth will ultimately make classrooms safer and more inclusive for all students,” she said.