Italian teacher fired for 20-year absences swears to stand her ground

Italian classroom that's deserted

A teacher in Italy who was fired from her position after 20 years of absence in 24 years at schools close to Venice has vowed to explain what happened.

After making a comeback for four months and raising concerns, Cinzia Paolina De Lio was fired in 2017.

After a legal battle, Italy's top court upheld the dismissal, stating that her absences demonstrated "permanent and absolute ineptitude.".

In her promise to "reconstruct the truth," Ms. De Lio has denounced the decision.

Sorry, but right now I'm at the beach," the secondary school teacher who teaches history and philosophy said while claiming to have documentation to support her claims. ".

She continued, "I do not answer questions from journalists thrown around that wouldn't do justice to the truth of my story. I will reconstruct the truth of the facts of this absolutely unique and surreal story. ".

Ms. De Lio was reinstated in 2018 as a result of a judge's decision in Venice, but the decision was overturned last week by the Supreme Court of Cassation after the education ministry appealed.

The teacher was accused by the ministry of avoiding the classroom for 20 of her 24 years of employment. She didn't show up at all for the first 10 years, and in the subsequent 14 years, her absences were justified by illness, personal matters, or obligations to her family.

Students complained about her lack of preparation, failure to bring textbooks, and her "random and improvised" marking practices during a four-month period in 2015 when she did teach in Chioggia, close to Venice.

She was "unprepared" and "inattentive," and students refused to participate in her classes because she was preoccupied with her phone, according to an inspection.

Her termination in 2017 resulted in a court battle that involved an appeal and a counter-appeal before reaching the highest court.

The court disregarded her argument that she had the "freedom of teaching," contending that it was the duty of the teacher to protect students' right to education.

She told the Italian media that she was now a freelance journalist and that she had documents to disprove the assertion that she had been gone for 20 years.

According to the ministry of education, it would "increasingly strive to ensure that the activity of teaching is carried out with sufficient professionalism."

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