Unfair dismissal for Muslim TA
Teaching Assistant branded 9/11 footage shown to kids as ‘x-rated’
A Muslim teaching assistant has decided to take a Birmingham school to court over what she claims was ‘racial discrimination’ and an ‘unfair dismissal’.
24-year-old Suriyah Bi claims she was sacked when she complained about a video showing the terrorist events in New York on 9/11 to a class of 11-year-olds.
Branding the footage as ‘X-rated’, Suriyah, an Oxford graduate, lost her job at Birmingham’s Heartlands Academy after just a week and is now pursuing claims for unfair dismissal and religious discrimination.
The school said Suriyah simply no longer wanted to work at the school and that it would oppose her claims.
During the brief preliminary hearing which dealt with legal and technical matters, the video was not mentioned in detail.
Outside the hearing, Suriyah said: “It was shown to some 30 children during class. I understand the video was shown without the permission of the authorities.
“It raised questions about what safeguards there are in schools to protect children.
“These were children aged 11, of whom many knew little, or nothing, about the 9/11 horror.
“They were subjected to graphic scenes and some were shocked and upset. The video not only showed the plane crashing into the Twin Towers but also showed people committing suicide by jumping to their deaths from the tower blocks.
“Such young children should not been shown things like that because it is well-known that it can play on their minds and even induce them to kill themselves.
“I was in the classroom when the video was shown and I quickly objected. Later, I was told to leave the school.
“There was an investigation into the matter but I was dismissed for making a whistle blowing complaint.”
Suriyah said she believed no action was taken against the teacher who screened the video, but some people regarded the showing as ‘misguided’.
The class had been studying a poem about a victim of the 9/11 terrorist attack. The poem is part of the AQA GCSE syllabus.
E-Act, who sponsor a number of academies, including Heartlands, told the tribunal judge Ron Broughton that the teacher no longer wanted to work for them.
They complained there had been no need for the preliminary hearing and were considering making a claim for costs against Suriyah for causing delays.
Mr Broughton said she could go ahead with her legal claims at a full hearing later this year and he would not consider a claim for costs at this stage.
The 9/11 were a series of four co-ordinated terrorist attacks carried out by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda on the US on September 11, 2001.
The attacks killed 2,996 people and injured over 6,000 others.