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PRESS RELEASE

CONTACT:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Randy Bunnao, 213-241-0227


rbunnao@advancingjustice-la.org

September 27, 2016

Andrew Medina, 916-448-6700


amedina@advancingjustice-ca.org

Legislation Addressing Bullying and Harassment of Muslim and Sikh


Students Signed by Governor Brown

SACRAMENTO Governor Jerry Brown has signed a historic bill, Assemblymember Das Williams Assembly Bill
(AB) 2845, that will protect vulnerable Muslim and Sikh students who are facing bullying in school. At a time when
other political leaders are fomenting hate, Governor Brown has sent an important signal that Californians will protect
our children from that hate.
The bill will require the California Department of Education (CDE), as part of its compliance monitoring, to assess
whether local educational agencies have provided information to staff on school site and community resources for
students who are subject to discrimination and bullying based on actual or perceived religious affiliation. The bill also
requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to post anti-bullying resources related to affiliation or perceived
affiliation with any religion, nationality, race, or ethnicity on its website. AB 2845 is co-sponsored by Asian Americans
Advancing Justice - California (Advancing Justice-CA), Council on American-Islamic Relations, California Chapter
(CAIR - CA), Sikh American Legal Defense & Education Fund (SALDEF), and the Sikh Coalition.
AB 2845 will ensure that students who are faced with Islamophobia are provided the assistance and support they
need when faced with school bullying and discrimination, stated Andrew Medina, California Policy Manager of
Advancing Justice - CA. These resources are essential to ensure student academic success because it is often
difficult for children to learn in a fearful environment.
AB 2845 is the first and only bill directly addressing the issue of Islamophobia in California. The negative tone in our
national politics has inflamed a disturbing trend of scapegoating and fear mongering of American Muslims. Recently,
a rash of hate crimes aimed at Muslims and Sikhs have occurred across the nation, including physical assaults and
the defacement of religious sites in California. The Cal State San Bernardino Center on Hate & Extremism has

reported that Anti-Muslim hate crimes have increased 122% in California between 2014 and 2015. AB 2845 aims to
address potential spikes in bullying and discrimination in our public education system as a result of increased
Islamophobia.
Having school site and community resources available to students experiencing bullying is a big step forward to
ensuring a safer environment for our kids, said Sameena Usman, Government Relations Coordinator for CAIR-San
Francisco Bay Area. We welcome the support from our Governor and Legislators in addressing this serious issue.
In a recent study, CAIR-CA has discovered that 55% of American Muslim students attending California public schools
experience some form of bullying based on their religious identity. This is twice as high as the national statistic for
students who report being bullied at school. CAIR-CA also finds that American Muslim youth continue to identify
student-teacher relations as needing improvement in addressing such bullying. Similarly, the Sikh Coalition has
reported that 50% of Sikh students have encountered school bullying. This number increases significantly for
turbaned Sikh students, 67% of whom have encountered bullying. In Fresno, 51% of the students surveyed by the
Sikh Coalition reported that they felt school officials did not respond adequately to bullying incidents.
"Every child has the right to a safe and nurturing learning environment. This bill provides educators, students and
parents with resources to help ensure that right," stated Harjit Kaur, Community Development Manager for The Sikh
Coalition.
The statutes prescribed by AB 2845 are in effect starting January 1, 2017.
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Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) is the nations largest legal and civil
rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI). Through direct services,
impact litigation, policy advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building, Advancing Justice-LA focuses on
the most vulnerable members of Asian American and NHPI communities while also building a strong voice for civil
rights and social justice.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-California (Advancing Justice-CA) is a joint project of Advancing JusticeLos Angeles and Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco.
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