If you are a student who has experienced, witnessed, or instigated an act of religious bullying, please know that there are several ways to respond to the incident.
- If you are an elementary student, ways to understand what happened and know how to respond are online here: http://www.prevnet.ca/bullying/kids
- If you are a teenager in middle school or secondary, ways to understand what happened and know how to respond are online here: http://www.prevnet.ca/bullying/kids
Federal laws in Canada and the US also speak against all forms of bullying, including religious bullying. (Provincial and state-level laws exist as well in most cases.) If a religious bullying incident happens physically, verbally, or socially in-person, or online with someone from your school, the teacher and staff at your elementary or secondary school are required by law to respond.
Unfortunately, studies show that many teacher and school staff still don’t understand what religious bullying is or that it exists. In some cases, teachers do not understand because they are simply not informed (and not because they do not want to help). In other cases, some teachers are uncomfortable responding for personal reasons or because of constraints they have at the school or school community. If you have reported a religious bullying incident and people at your school have not responded, please speak with another adult in your community who supports you and you can trust, such as your parent, relative, coach/team leader, or a religious leader. Let them know about the incident and refer to the laws that exist in your context. I am listing a few here so that you and your supportive adult can be more confident in responding to the matter.
- Quebec: Bill 56, with more details from the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur here.
- Ontario: Bill 13, with more details from the Ontario Ministry of Education here.
- California: Assembly Bill No. 2845
Of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In some North American contexts and communities, religious bullying is a realistic and consistent concern. Please know that you are not alone in this. Various community groups have created online resources to support you. Here are some of them:
Sikh communities and organizations:
- Kaur Foundation
- Sikh Coalition
- Sikh Kid2Kid – a youth-based organization to offer support to other Sikh students who may have experienced bullying