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NYCLU Calls Upon School Officials To Take Preventive Measures Against Bias Attacks

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) has called upon state and city officials to take preventive measures in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks against bias harassment, threats and violence in the schools. Given a spate of incidents directed at Arab Americans, South Asian Americans, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus around the city, state and nation, many children fear being targeted at school.

In letters to New York City Schools Chancellor Harold Levy and New York State Education Commissioner Richard Mills, the NYCLU suggested today that city and state officials advise schools to take steps to prevent and respond to any incidents in the schools. Suggestions include establishing a reporting system for incidents and sending letters home indicating that bias incidents will not be tolerated in the schools and advising students and parents of how to report any incidents. The NYCLU also proposes the creation of specially trained response teams to monitor incidents and help schools grapple with problems.

“We know that there have been numerous incidents in the city and state but hope that with quick but thoughtful preventive measures, our schools can be safe educational environments for all students. No child should have to fear going to school during these times because of her religion, ethnicity or dress,” said Donna Lieberman, Interim Executive Director. “We are pleased that the New York City Board of Education has begun to develop a curriculum dealing with issues that have arisen out of this tragedy and propose the beginning of a sustained effort to make our schools safe places that foster tolerance and inclusion.”

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