Jagmohan Singh Premi, 18, was attacked by an unnamed fellow student in an ESL classroom at Richmond Hill High School on June 3, 2008. The attacker, 15, had apparently harassed Premi for several months before the attack, making fun of his patka — a small turban worn by young Sikhs — and his beard.
While partially untying Premi’s patka, the attacker used keys wound through his knuckles to punch Premi in the eye. School administrators intervened, and sent Premi home, rather than to the hospital, following the attack. Premi’s family later took him to a local hospital, where doctors said he had suffered a facial contusion and possibly an orbital fracture.
Queens Family Court Judge Fran Lubow found the student guilty on three counts, including aggravated assault, possession of a criminal weapon and hate crime assault. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 9.
The student — who is not being named because he is a minor — faces a maximum of 18 months in juvenile detention.
Speaking through an interpreter, Jagmohan’s mother Dilip Kaur Premi told India-West in an earlier story that the attacker had harassed Premi in class for several months, initially throwing paper at him, then escalating to verbal attacks and pulls of his beard.
“He complained many times to his teachers but nothing was done,” said Kaur.
Premi’s father brought the harassment to the attention of school officials, but the high school allegedly did nothing to protect him.
The family filed a civil suit June 3 against the New York Department of Education for failing to protect their son from harassment. The suit states that Premi was subjected to nearly daily abuse from a fellow student, and that the school system did not effectively respond to the matter.
Both boys were back in school and in the same classroom following the attack; Premi is now at a different school.
Source: Sunita Sohrabji, India West