New Jersey May 17, 2022: The video of a Hindu middle school student being assaulted by a fellow student at Coppell Middle School North, in Coppell, TX has gone viral. Even as the incident, which took place on May 11th, remains under investigation (per the school district), it seems shameful that far from punishing the aggressor, the school district has chosen to hand out the greater punishment to the victim, despite video footage that clearly shows him being attacked with a deadly neck grip and being toppled from his seat. 

The Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) is deeply concerned at this incident and urges the school district to take immediate corrective action to ensure justice for the student in question as well as to ensure the safety of other minority students in the school. We are also particularly appalled at the apparent reaction of kids who are watching this who seem to be laughing and encouraging this behavior.  We expect that the investigation will cover these students’ behavior as well. 

Unfortunately, this sort of bullying and hate is all too common among students – often due to prejudices around race, color and religion. In 2019, the Cyberbullying Research Center analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of 5,000 middle and high schoolers across America. Findings revealed that nearly one in four Hindu youth had been targeted at school because of their faith. While we do not yet know the complete facts of the case, the disturbing footage of the incident has caused alarm among Hindu American parents all over the country. 

“Incidents like these shake the confidence of parents – especially those from minority communities,” remarked CoHNA president Nikunj Trivedi. “Such bullying has no place in our schools. It is imperative for the school district and local police to investigate this incident to the fullest extent and to ensure the safety of students and to foster diversity, equity and inclusion for all. 

Beyond acts of aggression and violence, the portrayal of Hinduism in a very negative light in textbooks in middle school curriculums is also a major factor that leads to bullying of students of the Hindu faith.

CoHNA’s Hindu Parents Network has been assisting parents and students who have faced such incidents across the country, by empowering them to be important stakeholders and partners in school districts and local affairs. Through dialogue, engagement and education, all sides can learn the spirit of mutual respect and understanding. 

 

 About CoHNA

CoHNA is a grassroots level advocacy and civil rights organization dedicated to improving the understanding of Hinduism in North America by working on matters related to the Hindu community and by educating the public about Hindu heritage and tradition. For more information, please visit https://cohna.org or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cohnaofficial, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cohnaofficial and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/cohnaofficial.

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