Tower Hamlets school ignored racist pupils, claims former teacher
PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:35 05 October 2010
by Gemma Collins AN East End school was this week accused of ignoring racial hatred among its pupils after a former teacher exposed the Muslim youngsters as anti-Semitic and
AN East End school was this week accused of ignoring racial hatred among its pupils after a former teacher exposed the Muslim youngsters as anti-Semitic and anti-Christian.
Nicholas Kafouris, a former teacher of Bigland Green Primary School, told an employment tribunal that the kids, as young as eight years old, openly hailed September 11 hijackers as "heroes" and said they wanted to be Islamic bombers when they grew up.
But Mr Kafouris, 52, claims his concerns were dismissed by the school in Shadwell and he is suing Tower Hamlets council, the school, head teacher and the assistant head for racial discrimination.
The Christian teacher who was at the school for 12 years described in the opening of the Central London Employment Tribunal this week that his pupils' attitudes changed after the September 11 attacks in 2001.
And he had to tell his pupils off for making racist remarks including "We hate the Jews" and "the Christians and Jews are our enemies".
He said he filled out a Racist Incident Reporting Sheet but claimed headteacher Jill Hankey dismissed his concerns and was "vicariously upholding racism and religious hatred".
In a statement submitted to the tribunal, Mr Kafouris said: "Amongst Ms Hankey's justifications for the child's remarks she said: `If the child was older say 15, I might take it more seriously, he's only nine, he's only doing it to wind you up'.
He added: "I felt the head's behaviour and conduct towards me amounted to direct religious discrimination. I was intimidated in the way she spoke to me which indicated `Don't come back with such issues again`."
Mr Kafouris, a Greek Cypriot who lives in Laystall Street in Farringdon claims that because of his complaints the school went on to make a series of allegations against him.
He was signed off for stress by his GP in February 2007 and was dismissed in April 2009 because of his absence.
The tribunal heard that Mr Kafouris was investigated by the school after his twin brother turned up on a class trip to the Museum of London.
Betsan Criddle, representing the school and Tower Hamlets council also said Mr Kafouris had been criticised for his "poor management" since 2001 and some of his classes had been observed.
Ms Criddle also told the tribunal a parent had complained that Mr Kafouris told her daughter "she was wearing a headscarf for no reason" during a lesson and claimed he had promoted "Christianity as better than Islam".
But Mr Kafouris dismissed the allegation as "simply not true".
The case continues.