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Tue May 28, 2019, 11:08 AM

Sikh school bus driver reported years of harassment over his turban and beard

Hat tip, DCist:

Sikh school bus driver reported years of harassment over his turban and beard

By Donna St. George, Reporter covering education
May 28 at 12:01 AM

Some who noticed his turban and unshorn beard called him a terrorist. Others taunted that he was Osama bin Laden. From nearly his first day as a school bus driver in suburban Maryland, Sawinder Singh, an observant Sikh, said he was targeted for the way he looked.

The harassment came from co-workers, supervisors and students, he said. One day while driving the roads of Montgomery County, he missed a turn, only to have a large group of middle-schoolers aboard shout that he was kidnapping them. ... “The driver is going to blow up the bus!” he recalls them yelling.

But 13 years into his career with the county school system, Singh, 45, is turning a page on those experiences, as his lawyers and school officials settle issues raised in a complaint filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016. ... The agreement, expected to be announced Tuesday, includes efforts to improve cultural education and training on recognizing bias, which Singh said he hopes will lead to a greater understanding among employees and students of Sikhs and other religious minorities in the diverse school system. ... His attorneys assert the case could have a broad reach nationally, given Montgomery’s stature as one of the country’s largest and most well-regarded school systems.

According to the EEOC complaint, co-workers in the transportation department called Singh “Osama bin Laden,” “al-Qaeda” and “Taliban.” When bin Laden was killed in 2011, it said, fellow employees expressed condolences to him as if they were related. ... One supervisor threatened to put duct tape on Singh’s beard and pull it off, the document said, and when he said he did not appreciate the joke — and that his hair was an expression of his religion — he was told he lacked a sense of humor.

Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.

Donna St. George writes about education for The Washington Post, where she has been a reporter since 1998. She previously worked at the Philadelphia Inquirer and the New York Times. Follow https://twitter.com/donnastgeorge

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Reply Sikh school bus driver reported years of harassment over his turban and beard (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves May 2019 OP
elleng May 2019 #1

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 11:13 AM

1. Damn! I hope MoCo gets acclaim for doing it right (eventually.)

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