Fresno State forum to address bullying of Sikh students

The Fresno BeeApril 8, 2014 

Jim Yovino

THE FRESNO BEE

A public forum addressing the bullying of Sikh American students will be presented at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10, 2014, in the Alice Peters Auditorium at Fresno State.

Speakers are:

-- Simran Kaur, advocacy manager of the Sikh Coalition, who works in Fresno.

-- Iqbal Grewal, a Fresno-area Sikh community activist.

-- Preet Grewal, a Fresno State student.

-- Jim Yovino, Fresno County superintendent of schools.

According to a Sikh Coalition survey released March 13, Sikh students living in Fresno County say they are regularly bullied at school, and many of them say educators do nothing about it when such aggression is reported.

Information was gathered by independent researchers at bullying forums held in Boston, Fresno, Indianapolis and Seattle in 2012 and 2013. Fresno had the second-highest percentage of students saying they had been bullied — 54.5%.

The report also showed the Valley has the highest percentage — 51% — of Sikh students saying schools didn't take any action after they reported bullying.

The Peace and Conflict studies program at Fresno State and the Religious Studies program in the philosophy department are forum co-sponsors.

Andrew Fiala, chairman of the philosophy department, says the goal of the forum is to raise awareness about the issue and to offer support to the Sikh community as it struggles with the bullying problem.

"I think that these sorts of events are good examples of how the university can contribute to conflict resolution in the community," Fiala says. "I believe that a key step in resolving conflicts is education. Violence is often the result of misunderstanding and ignorance. And the cure for that is education."

Parking for the forum will be free, with a parking code provided.

Details: (559) 278-2621.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6304, rorozco@fresnobee.com or @ronorozco_bee on Twitter.

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