Contact: Kenneth L. Marcus
Institute for Jewish & Community Research
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San Francisco, May 11, 2011 - IJCR is testifying May 13 before a federal commission, urging it to take a strong stand against bullying and harassment of religious minority students. The Institute joins others urging similar protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons. Kenneth L. Marcus, director of The Anti-Semitism Initiative, will testify before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights at the agency's landmark hearing on "Federal Enforcement of Civil Rights Laws Protecting Students Against Bullying, Violence and Harassment." Recent concerns over bullying against LGBT students and other groups prompted the Commission hearing, at which Marcus will make the case that religious minority students deserve equal protection.
Appearing before the Commission that he once directed, Marcus will present evidence of religious harassment against students of various faiths. A Sikh seventh-grader in New Jersey faced an assault resulting in injuries at his school amid taunts of "Osama." A Muslim middle school student was cursed at and beaten. Students at several schools conducted "Kick a Jew Day" in New York and Florida.
"If the Civil Rights Commission is serious about addressing student-on-student bullying and harassment," said Marcus, "it should urge Congress to pass legislation which would ban religious harassment in federally funded educational programs and activities."
Marcus served as staff director at the commission from 2004 to 2008. From 2002 to 2004 he was delegated the authority of Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights and served simultaneously as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education for Enforcement, heading the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights. His testimony will focus on student-on-student religious harassment and bullying in the public schools.
The Anti-Semitism Initiative is a research and action initiative of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism in America's educational systems.
The Institute for Jewish & Community Research (IJCR) is an independent, non-partisan think tank that provides innovative research and pragmatic policy analyses on a broad range of issues including racial and religious identity, philanthropy, and anti-Semitism. www.jewishresearch.org