A Birmingham school accused of ethnic discrimination against a teaching assistant is facing similar accusations after a senior staff member was charged with racially abusing a teacher, The Guardian reports.
Heartlands Academy in Birmingham has been spotlighted again after an assistant’s contract at the school was terminated following her objection to her class of 11- and 12-year-old special needs children being shown footage of people jumping to their deaths from the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks.
Suriyah Bi, 24, recently turned down an £11,000 compensation offer from the school and says she is committed to fighting the case in court.
It is now reported that Dawn Salter, the head of food technology at the school in the Nechells area, is to appear in court next month for religiously aggravated harassment.
The alleged victim, Rehana Begum, who was a food technology teacher at the school, claims Salter called her a “f*****g Muslim b*tch” and threatened to “wrap [her] headscarf around [her] neck”.
Begum, 47, is also suing the school for unfair dismissal and racial discrimination. She claims she was repeatedly harassed between April 2015 and November 2015 after she raised concerns about exam fraud.
Following the alleged harassment, Begum, who was employed at the school on a rolling yearly contract, went on sick leave in March this year and her contract was not renewed. She is now supply teaching. Salter is believed to have remained at the school until 23 July, when she was formally charged by the police. She is now reportedly also on sick leave.
E-Act, the academy’s sponsor, declined to comment in detail, saying:
“E-Act takes all such allegations seriously, however, as we are in the middle of a legal process it would not be appropriate for the trust to comment further.”
Salter has been charged with religiously aggravated intentional harassment by use of words and is due to appear at Coventry magistrates court on 6 December. Begum’s case against the school will then follow at an employment tribunal.
Bi’s case, meanwhile, is due to begin at an employment tribunal on 5 December. Birmingham MP Liam Byrne has called for the education secretary to investigate Bi’s case.