Muslim Sacked for Objecting to Students Made to Watch 9/11 Footage Wins Case Against School

Published November 1st, 2017 - 04:00 GMT
In the latest hearing this month, a judge said the 25-year-old had also been victimised under the 2010 Equality Act (Shutterstock/File)
In the latest hearing this month, a judge said the 25-year-old had also been victimised under the 2010 Equality Act (Shutterstock/File)

 

  • Suriyah Bi, 25, raised concerns about seven-year-old children being made to watch a graphic video of people dying on 9/11 and she was fired the following day
  • She has now won an unfair dismissal case against Heartlands Academy 
  • A safeguarding checklist compiled by the school after she was fired mentioned how she was head girl of School, which was implicated in the Trojan Horse affair
  • Bi, an Oxford graduate, said she was therefore implicated as 'being an extremist'

 

A Muslim teaching assistant who was fired for raising concerns about 11-year-olds being shown a graphic video of people dying on 9/11 has won an unfair dismissal case against her former school.

Suriyah Bi, 25, an Oxford University graduate, objected to a teacher at Heartlands Academy in Birmingham showing a year seven class with special needs footage of people jumping from the Twin Towers.

The horrifying video has a rating for people aged 18 and over.  

Bi raised the issue the following day, on Sept. 23, 2015, and was sacked just over an hour later, less than two weeks after she started the role.

"Children were subjected to graphic scenes and some were shocked and upset...it raised questions about what safeguards there are in schools to protect children," she said.

"I was in the classroom when the video was shown and I quickly objected. Later I was told to leave the school. I was told to grab my possessions and leave the premises. It all just happened in the blink of an eye."

The class was studying a poem called Out of the Blue by Simon Armitage. The poem is about a victim of the 9/11 terror attacks who eventually jumps from the burning building.

A safeguarding checklist written three days after she was fired, seen by The Guardian, mentions that Bi was head girl at Saltley School, which was implicated in the Trojan Horse affair after she left. It claimed she objected to the video being shown to the children because it offended her as a Muslim.

 

 

The Trojan Horse scandal started with an anonymous letter in March 2014 describing an Islamic plot to take over schools in Birmingham called Operation Trojan Horse.

The document, later discredited as a hoax, claimed hardline Muslims wanted to take control of governing bodies and replace school leaders with staff who would be more sympathetic to their religious agenda.

That, in turn, led to 21 schools being inspected by schools inspector Ofsted, which put six schools [including Satley School] in special measures and said five had not done enough to protect children from extremism. 

"Just because I went to a Trojan Horse affair school, which [was involved in the scandal] five years after I left...I was implicated as being an extremist," said Bi.

The school offered Bi £11,000 ($1329) in compensation for loss of earnings a year after she was first sacked. But she rejected that and decided to take the case to an employment tribunal.

In March a judge ruled she had been unfairly dismissed but rejected a claim she was discriminated against because of her religion. 

In the latest hearing this month, a judge said the 25-year-old had also been victimised under the 2010 Equality Act. 

Bi has applied to have her discrimination claim reconsidered, claiming she wouldn't have been dismissed if she hadn't been a Muslim, but said she is open to reaching a settlement with the school. 

A remedy hearing is expected to take place next year, The Guardian reported. 

In a statement, a spokesman for E-ACT, the multi-academy trust which runs Heartlands Academy, said, "Although we are disappointed by the judgment, we respect the tribunal's decision and we continue to further strengthen our processes to ensure that there can be no repeat of the errors highlighted to us during this case."

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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