Ripon school suspends YouTube pupil

Egzon Obrinja, right, outside Outwood Academy with family friend - who is helping to represent his family at an appeal hearing against his suspension - John Topping.  (1303269AM3)
Egzon Obrinja, right, outside Outwood Academy with family friend - who is helping to represent his family at an appeal hearing against his suspension - John Topping. (1303269AM3)

An Outwood Academy student has been left counting the cost of a video stunt he staged after it was posted online and he was suspended.

Egzon Obrinja, 18, who was involved in organising a video of himself and fellow sixth-form students dancing the Harlem Shake – an eccentric upper-body dance move which involves shaking of the upper torso and shoulders – has been suspended from school just a few months before he is set to sit his final A-level exams.

Egzon, who has been suspended for 45 days for persistent disobedience, said the situation has made it much harder for him to secure a place at university.

“It has made it a lot harder on myself,” he said. “It has put a lot of stress and strain on my family.”

In a letter to the school on March 7, Egzon’s father Shemsedin Obrinja – who is originally from Kosovo – said the family is “distraught” over his son’s suspension and that examples of his persistent disobedience had not been explained. Egzon has five conditional university places, which are dependent on him achieving certain grades. He is one of five pupils who have been suspended after the video – which Egzon describes as “a bit of fun” – was posted on YouTube.

Egzon and his family will now appeal against the exclusion at a hearing on April 23.

John Topping, a family friend who is helping to represent the Obrinjas at the hearing, told the Gazette: “It has caused stress beyond comparison. Egzon doesn’t deserve this by any means.”

A spokesman for the school said it is unable to discuss any specific incidents and referred the Gazette to the school’s behaviour policy.