Teaching assistant dismissed after objecting to children being shown footage of 9/11 takes her case to the employment tribunal

A teaching assistant who was dismissed from her job for objecting to young children being shown graphic footage of the 9/11 attacks has turned down a compensation offer from the school and has resolved to fight the case in court, according to an article in The Guardian.

Suriyah Bi was dismissed from the Heartlands Academy in Birmingham, after she raised concerns about the footage of people jumping to their deaths. She said it was inappropriate for her class of 11- and 12-year-old special needs children to see footage of the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York on 11 September 2001.

The class of about 30 children had been studying Out of the Blue, a poem by Simon Armitage that reflects on the events of 9/11. As part of the lesson they were shown footage of the attack on the twin towers.

Ms Bi was dismissed from the school on 23rd September 2015, less than a fortnight after she started the job.

The school has offered Bi £11,000 in compensation for loss of earnings. However, Ms Bi has turned down the offer and is seeking an apology. She is taking the case to a full employment tribunal in December. She said: “I raised what I felt was a valid concern. This video was incredibly graphic. Bodies were falling from the building and there were close-up shots. It was not appropriate.”

The case is due to start on 5th December and is expected to last five days if a mutual agreement is not reached at a mediation hearing on 23rd November.

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