Jania Ashay, who goes by the username @heyniaa_, opened up about the “traumatising” experience in a video posted to TikTok last month. In the video, she says that the incident happened the year before, but that she feels she is “healed enough” to share it.
Ashay, who now works as a travel agent and teacher, said she’d been working as an ESL [English as a second language] student teacher to get her degree and licence when the incident occurred. She claimed she experienced issues with the school district on a number of occasions before the firing including experiencing “microaggressions”.
The TikToker said she was ultimately “let go” from the job after she made a TikTok with two students who asked to eat lunch in her office, which one of the students then shared on the app.
“I’m a cool teacher, so of course I’m going to say yes,” Ashay said in regards to the request from her students to eat lunch with her. “And while they’re in there, they ask if we can do a little TikTok.”
Ashay acknowledged that “mistake number one” was allowing the students to have their phones out during lunch. She noted that they weren’t supposed to, but added that they had just been “chilling”. As for the video, Ashay said it was a “simple” dance to an edited version of a Nicki Minaj song. “I wasn’t shaking nothing, it was so PG,” she said.
However, the next day, the students were called to the principal’s office and told to take the video down. Ashay said the students were also told not to tell her about their conversation with the principal, so that she would “come in blind-sided,” but that they did.
Ashay recalled that she was then called down to the principal’s office and alleged that the principal spoke to her like a “child” before telling her the TikTok she took part in, which was reported by a parent, was “unprofessional”.
“We’re going back and forth, she takes me to HR that day, of course they have her back, and that’s it. I was fired,” she concluded.
In a follow-up video, Ashay shared the TikTok that led to her firing. In it, she and two students, whose faces she covered, do a simple dance. Ashay then said that it wouldn’t have mattered what the video showed, as she claimed the principal would have found any reason to fire her because the students were not supposed to have their phones out.
Replying to @thizbp here is the tiktok that got me fired friend! You are correct… they was doing too much!!
♬ original sound - Jania Ashay
While Ashay described the experience as “traumatising,” she said it ultimately worked out in her favour because she’s now “teaching at a school where the kids look like me, they talk like me, they appreciate me,” and where the principal and staff treat her with respect as well.
Ashay’s videos have since gone viral on TikTok and viewers have shared their anger on her behalf.
“I cannot believe that’s the video. It was nothing whew,” one person wrote, while another said: “I am a school administrator and for you to get fired over THIS is absolutely ridiculous.”
“Unreal! You were forming a positive relationship w those students. Sorry this happened,” someone else said.
Others noted that numerous teachers have TikTok accounts, and that it seemed the school district wanted a reason to fire Ashay.
“Teachers do TikToks all the time and they have their own accounts… Sorry sis so unfair,” one viewer wrote.
The Independent has contacted Ashay for comment.