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Teacher sacked for ‘joking’ to Jewish pupils that she would ‘ship them off to the gas chambers’

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Teacher is sacked for ‘joking’ to Jewish primary school pupils that she would ‘ship them off to the gas chambers’ if they didn’t finish their homework 

  • Teacher from Newberries Primary School was fired after an outcry from parents  
  • Allegedly said: ‘You better finish your work, or I’ll ship you to the gas chambers’ 
  • She said she was joking and apologised before asking children not to tell anyone 

A teacher has been sacked for ‘joking’ with Jewish pupils that she would ‘ship them off to the gas chambers’ if they did not finish their homework.

Newberries Primary School dismissed the woman on Friday following an outcry from children and parents.

The teacher is said to have made the anti-Semitic remark on Thursday while teaching a class of 28 ten-year-olds, 11 of whom are Jewish. According to parents, she said: ‘You better finish off your work quick, or I’ll ship you all off to the gas chambers.’

It is understood that when challenged by one of the pupils, the teacher said she was ‘joking’ and apologised, before asking the children not to tell anyone.

A teacher, from Newberries Primary School in Hertfordshire, has been sacked for ‘joking’ with Jewish pupils that she would ‘ship them off to the gas chambers’ if they did not finish their homework

A teacher, from Newberries Primary School in Hertfordshire, has been sacked for ‘joking’ with Jewish pupils that she would ‘ship them off to the gas chambers’ if they did not finish their homework

However, pupils informed their parents and the news soon spread on school WhatsApp groups.

Many parents telephoned and emailed the head teacher to complain, with some even threatening to withdraw their children unless the staff member was dismissed.

On Thursday evening, the board of governors held an emergency meeting to discuss the issue, and dismissed the teacher the next day. 

The action was instant because the woman was an agency worker, and therefore had no permanent employment contract with Newberries, it is understood. 

On Thursday evening, the board of governors held an emergency meeting to discuss the issue, and dismissed the teacher the next day

On Thursday evening, the board of governors held an emergency meeting to discuss the issue, and dismissed the teacher the next day

The school, which has 203 pupils aged four to 11, is in Radlett, Hertfordshire, a commuter village where around a quarter of the 8,000 residents identify as Jewish.

One parent, who did not want to be named, said: ‘To the credit of the school they made it clear they wanted to deal with the situation without delay.

‘They did not seek to dispute the suggestion that the teacher had made the reference to “gas chambers”. The fact that the woman was sacked the following day says everything you need to know.’ 

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Yesterday, a spokesman for the school said: ‘We can confirm that last week we were made aware that an alleged racist comment had been made by an agency teacher working within the school.

‘We acted on this immediately and our governors and leadership team are undertaking a full investigation. The agency teacher will not be returning.’

After the dismissal, the school issued a newsletter reassuring parents that despite ‘recent events’, it was doing all it could to ‘embrace and celebrate diversity’.

It said it would be inviting religious leaders from different faith groups in to speak to the children, as it had done in previous years.

After the dismissal, the school issued a newsletter reassuring parents that despite ‘recent events’, it was doing all it could to ‘embrace and celebrate diversity’. Stock picture

After the dismissal, the school issued a newsletter reassuring parents that despite ‘recent events’, it was doing all it could to ‘embrace and celebrate diversity’. Stock picture

‘This year we are asking particularly for the focus to be on strengthening the important messages of religious tolerance and respect,’ it said.

Newberries is rated ‘good’ by Ofsted, which described pupil attainment as ‘outstanding’.

At its last full inspection in 2011, the pupils were described as mostly ‘white British’, with below-average levels of deprivation.

The incident comes after Jewish community leaders condemned a third successive year with a record number of anti-Semitic incidents.

In 2018 there were 1,652 cases logged by the Community Security Trust, a 16 per cent increase on 2017. It said the spread of incidents throughout the year – more than 100 a month – indicated a general atmosphere of intolerance and prejudice.

The Daily Mail was not able to contact the sacked teacher. 

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