Teacher finally sacked after avoiding work for 20 years hits back to defend herself
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A secondary school teacher who was fired after it was revealed she had been absent for 20 years of her 24-years-long career has vowed to share her side of the story.
Cinzia Paolina De Lio, who taught literature and philosophy in schools near Venice in Italy, and reportedly used a combination of sick leave, holiday time and permits to attend conferences to avoid giving lessons at the school - and somehow managed to get away with this for a whopping two decades.
She was originally dismissed back in 2017 after she returned to work for four months and prompted several complaints due to her ‘unprepared’ and ‘inattentive’ teacher style.
However, De Lio took the dismissal to court and the following year she was reinstated by a judge in Venice.
In response, the education ministry launched a counter appeal, which made its way to the Supreme Court of Cassation - the highest court in Italy.
Last week, the Supreme Court of Cassation reversed the 2018 decision saying the two decades of absences showed a ‘permanent and absolute ineptitude’.
The court heard that during De Lio’s return to work during a four-month period in 2015, students complained that she was poorly prepared, didn’t bring in textbooks and had a ‘random and improvised’ way of marking their work.
According to an inspection, some students even staged a strike and refused to attend her classes.
The inspection also claimed she was ‘unprepared’ and ‘inattentive’ while teaching and accused her of being distracted by her phone when she should have been teaching.
De Lio has since vowed to share her side of the story and told a newspaper that she would be happy to share the facts of this ‘unique and surreal story’ - but not right away.
De Lio, who says she now works as a freelance journalist, has claimed to have documents which help to prove her side of the story, but when contacted by Repubblica newspaper, she said: "Sorry, but right now I'm at the beach."
"I will reconstruct the truth of the facts of this absolutely unique and surreal story,” De Lio went on.
"I don't answer questions from journalists thrown around that wouldn't do justice to the truth of my story."
Following the conclusion of the most recent court proceedings, the education ministry has said it would ‘increasingly strive to ensure that the activity of teaching is carried out with adequate professionalism’.