An Italian teacher was suspended for 20 days for praying with her students
Marisa Francescangeli, a primary school teacher in San Vero Milis (Oristano, Sardinia), has been suspended for 20 days with a pay reduction (from 25 March to 15 April) for having made her students construct a rosary for Christmas and praying an Ave Maria and Our Father with them.
The Oristano school office’s decision of suspension was taken after two mothers protested. While other parents defend her, she said she will appeal the decision.
On 22. December last year, Marisa Francescangeli showed her students how to construct a rosary with beads for the occasion of Christmas and told them “to wish the children a Merry Christmas by reciting two prayers with them,” she told L’Unione Sarda. In reaction to this, two mothers complained to the school principal. After the complaint, a meeting between the parents and the teacher was held. Marisa Francescangeli recalls: “I even apologised for the gesture, remembering, however, that at the beginning of the year, I had asked all the parents for permission to recite some prayers with the children. No one had been opposed.”
Despite this, on the 2nd of March, Marisa Francescangeli was summoned to the head office by the principal and the provincial education administration to receive the suspension notice. The suspension was to take place when Marisa Francescangeli returned to school after a period of illness, from 25 March to 15 April.
The suspension was immediately contested by the teacher’s trade union, as it considered that a procedure that did not allow the teacher to justify her behaviour or submit counter-arguments was invalid. But these efforts did not revoke the decision.