Community Encourgaed to Contact Senators to Support Bullying Bill Last week, on March 10, 2011, Jasjit Singh, Associate Executive Director of SALDEF, was invited as a representative of the Sikh American community to the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention. The conference, hosted by President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Human Services, brought together representatives from communities directly affected by bullying to bring attention to the issue and explore resources for those affected by bullying and harassment. This commendable initiative undertaken by the White House and community groups seeks to prevent bullying and provide safe school environments for all students. TAKE ACTION: 1. Learn about the issue 2. Write to your Senator asking for their support 3. Follow-up with a phone call The Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA), a federal anti-bullying bill, was introduced in the U.S. Senate on March 8, 2011. The SSIA calls on schools and districts that receive federal funds to adopt anti-bullying policies that specifically prohibit bullying or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The bill ensures schools focus on effective prevention strategies and professional development and requires states to maintain and report data to the Department of Education in order to develop effective policies. The bill is expected to be introduced in the House soon. Sikh Americans are urged to support SSIA for its potential impact on our children by asking your respective Senators to endorse the bill. SALDEF will continue to work with coalition partners to push this bill forward and keep the community updated on its progress. For Sikh Americans, school bullying is a serious and prevalent issue. Students forced to endure bullying and harassment at school are at high risk for , poor academic performance, low self-esteem, social withdrawal, and losing their Sikh identity. Bullying is not a normal part of childhood. SALDEF urges all Sikh Americans to immediately report any incidents of harassment or bullying to SALDEF and your local authorities. Please contact SALDEF at 1.877.91SIKHS or via our Report an Incident Form.