Washington: Sikh-American children have been enduring "harassment" in schools, a top US official has acknowledged, highlighting the need to look at the issue.
"When we think of how we might prevent the tragedy that occurred at the Sikh gurudwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, we must look to the harassment endured by Sikh-American children in schools," said Assistant Attorney General, Thomas E Perez, at a bullying prevention conference in California.
He was referring to the August 5 attack on a Wisconsin gurudwara in which six Sikh worshippers were killed. "Here in the Bay area, according to a 2010 survey, three quarters of Sikh-American boys reported that they were harassed at schools," Mr Perez said.
"Our common mission to stop bullying must start in our schools. It is in our schools that our children learn to live, play and work together. It is in our schools that fear and intolerance can take root; and it is in our schools that respect and compassion can be nurtured," he said. Perez said some of the violence that children endure is linked to bullying.
"The research suggests that those who bully are more likely to grow up and abuse their partners, spouses or children. So when we talk about effectively protecting our children from violence in the home, at school or on the streets, we must talk about strategies to prevent and eradicate bullying," he said.