Parents ask school for help to prevent bullying

The parents of a 12-year-old Gwinnett County student recently called a “terrorist” by classmates on a school bus asked school leaders Tuesday for more diversity training and other methods to prevent similar future incidents.

“We are still very disturbed by this. It hurt us a whole lot,” Harvinder Makkar, the boy’s mother, said during a meeting of Duluth Middle School administrators and parents.

The boy’s father, Anantpal Makkar, and Tricia Sung, president of the Asian American Parents Association, said they are willing to offer diversity training to school and district leaders. They also asked for better supervision on school buses.

The school’s principal, Deborah Fusi, said she is willing to work with them on such efforts. She did note the school has employed several tactics in recent years to address bullying through the staff, bus drivers and with students.

“I don’t want you to leave with the impression we don’t do anything about bullying,” said Fusi.

A 45-second video emerged last week showing a girl yell “terrorist” twice at the boy, who was wearing a turban in line with his family’s Sikh religious practice. The boy complained in the video of “kids being racist to me.”

School officials conducted an investigation once they were alerted about the video and carried out unspecified disciplined against some students. Gwinnett school district officials said the students had been involved in a series of back-and-forth name-calling incidents.

Tuesday was the first day the boy took the school bus since the incident, his father said.