CLARKSBURG, Md. (ABC7) — A school bus driver has won a settlement after years of enduring racial taunts from students and coworkers.
Sawinder Singh has been a school bus driver for Montgomery County Public Schools since 2006.
Singh said he was excited to learn and work with youth.
But within days, students and coworkers began taunting the observant Sikh.
"Like, 'Oh look at the driver. He is Osama Bin Laden.' That was the main common thing," Singh said.
Others told him to cut his beard or mocked his turban – both tenants of his religion.
Finally, after a decade he filed a complaint with the Federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, which now three years later has been settled with promises from the Montgomery County Public Schools system to improve cultural education and training on recognizing bias.
"I'm very excited because now the school system is open," Singh said. "They are more aware. To me it’s a practical approach to combatting the hate."
Those lessons can begin he says with getting to know him–an American musical genius who just wants to help kids.
"I will bleed if I have to for this nation because I love America, and I want them to know this, that this is my land. This is my reality now," Singh said.
For now, Singh continues to drive a school bus. He says he enjoys it, but after the settlement, he is hoping to transition to teaching music full time in Clarksburg.