DeKalb County schools to address alleged harassment - CBS46 News

DeKalb County schools to address alleged harassment

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DEKALB COUNTY, GA (CBS46/AP) -

Students and teachers at Peachtree Charter Middle School will soon undergo anti-bullying and harassment training, after a student from the Sikh community was bullied repeatedly.

"This kid was being subjected to a hostile environment in school that affected his ability he could not learn in that environment," said Harsimran Kaur, the Legal Director for The Sikh Coalition.

Kaur, who represented the boy and his family, said members of the Sikh community, both children and adults, typically wear turbans and the men wear beards and because of that, Sikhs are often confused with Muslims. Authorities said since the Sept. 11 attacks, Sikhs have increasingly become the victims of violence.

"He had been subject to harassment since elementary school. Kids were calling him Aladdin because he wore a turban, and a terrorist. They told him he should go back to his country and he was involved in a physical altercation with one student. Someone even forcibly cut his hair which is highly offensive because Sikhs are mandated to maintain uncut hair," Kaur said.

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating and has worked out an agreement with the school district to institute the anti-harassment training throughout the school district.

"We believe that DeKalb County has entered into this agreement in good faith and they are going to make real changes. If they don't, there is additional action we will take up to and including additional lawsuits that will be filed," said Salley Yates, the U.S. District Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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