Muslim teaching assistant wins legal battle over refusing to show 9/11 footage to kids

Suriyah Bi

A Muslim teaching assistant, who was fired for raising safeguarding concerns about showing a 9/11 video to an English class, won an unfair dismissal case against her former school.

Suriyah Bi, 25, took her employer to court after she was fired from Heartlands Academy on 23 September 2015, the morning she made an official safeguarding complaint over objecting a YouTube video, which showed people jumping to their deaths from the upper floors of the World Trade Centre, to a year seven class with special needs.

Ms Bi took the academy’s sponsor, E-Act, and the employment agency which hired her, Edustaff London, to court last December.

She said that the teacher taking the lesson had to log into her personal YouTube account to override a warning that the video was unsuitable for children and under 18.

She also said that when a warning message appeared on the screen, children asked if they should be watching it, but were told to be quiet by the teacher.

Ms Bi raised the issue the following day and was dismissed just over an hour later, less than a fortnight after she started the job.

In the latest hearing this month, a judge ruled that Ms Bi had also been victimised under the 2010 Equality Act.

Ms Bi has applied to have her discrimination claim reconsidered, insisting that she would not have been fired 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.

In a statement, a spokesman for E-Act, the multi-academy trust which runs Heartlands Academy, said: “Although we are disappointed by the judgement, 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.”

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