The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


February 16, 2001

Document your complaint

Dear Ms. Sabety ["Punch"]: There is not a day in the hallowed corridors of our schools that some kid does not bully another one. While there are a ranger of permissible reactions to this form of intimidation and harassment, I believe, you should be documenting your talk with the school officials in writing, setting forth your complaints against the students who bother your daughter, the teachers and administrators to whom you have complained and their response, or lack thereof.

In a recent supreme court decision from the U.S. South, the school board was found liable to the student and her parents for damages where the school knew about harassment and neglected to act. You may want to consider to complain to the local board of education, or consult an attorney in your area if you think that a well-documented case exists.

It is the sort of racism or discrimination experienced at the grassroots that should be brought to the attention of the judiciary in this country, with the aim that perhaps one day the Justice Department's civil rights division could classify the Iranians as a demonized and therefore protected minority.

As it stands now, Iranians are not a constitutionally protected minority and that makes anti-discrimination cases a difficult proposition. But the harassment laws apply to all with equal force and within that context the Iranianness of the victim should receive judicial notice as a contributory cause to the harassment.

Guive Mirfendereski


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