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Whiteland High School educators receive Sikh awareness training

WHITELAND, Ind. (WISH) – More than 100 teachers and staff at Whiteland Community High School received awareness training from the Sikh Coalition, a national civil rights advocacy group.

Harman Singh led Monday’s presentation. “This training comes one week after our client returned safely to school. We want to make sure that all of the educators here are aware of the Sikh faith, and also that all the students here at Whiteland Community High School are in a safe learning environment.”

The training was scheduled after a bullying incident between a group of students and another student who is Sikh.

A video posted online showed classmates knocking the student’s turban from his head along with physical and verbal attacks.

Ultimately, school administrators decided to suspend all students involved.

The Sikh Coalition found it unacceptable, and it stepped in to offer support.

“Ultimately, we want to make sure that this incident doesn’t live in a vacuum. We want to take this and make sure that other students and other members of this community will not face the same things that our client, unfortunately, had to (go through),” Singh said.

The coalition managed to get the student back into school and requested the Clark-Pleasant school district implement a safety plan for the student and other students of the Sikh faith.

Harman says the district has been cooperative through the process, and it will continue its advocacy efforts to bring more awareness across the school system.

“This is a positive step in the right direction for Whiteland Community High School and the Clark-Pleasant school district, but we want to ensure this training is replicated districtwide to make sure all students in this community feel safe, feel valued, and feel respected,” Singh said.

The district released this statement.

“Providing a school environment that is welcoming and inclusive of all students is a top priority for the Clark-Pleasant Community Schools, our administration, and staff at Whiteland Community High School. We remain committed to ensuring the safety of our students and will continue to cultivate opportunities that work to meet this goal.”

Patrick Spray, Superintendent, Clark-Pleasant School Corp.