CONEGLIANO – The pupils’ parents had heavily attacked the teacher. After the first complaints, 17 of them had signed a letter, sent to both the principal and the councilor for education, in which the teacher was described as unprepared and absentee. But she did not step back and sued the petitioners. And now, after 4 years, the Justice of the Peace of Conegliano has agreed with her: almost all the parents of the children have apologized and as compensation, as requested by the teacher herself, they will make a donation to the comprehensive school 1 “Grava”. Thus ended the story that had as protagonist Miriam Riccardi, 60 years old, 41 of whom spent in professorship. In 2017 he taught English at the Pascoli elementary school in viale Istria in Conegliano, at the Ic Grava complex. It is here that some of the pupils’ parents began to question their preparation in the foreign language and to point the finger at absences deemed excessive.
“It was said that I didn’t give enough to write. It was not easy to bring the scarlet letter: living with the feeling of shame for having done one’s job at its best is a horrible thing – explains Riccardi, who now teaches in theKennedy elementary school of the Ic 2 Cima di Conegliano – that letter was full of falsehoods. Some parents had probably signed it without even realizing the contents. But I was tired of living in such a condition. Families must return to trust in the work that is done by teachers ».
Thus came the lawsuit. “The accusations against the teacher were put in writing, but also conveyed via WhatsApp and even through the pupils, used as postmen, as well as to make flyers, creating a wide circulation to the detriment of the teacher’s image”, they explain from Treviso Guild, the teachers’ union who followed the teacher inviting her to contact the lawyer Innocenzo D’Angelo. Before the Justice of the Peace, Massimiliano Marchetti, the principals of the IC Grava and the other teachers highlighted that Riccardi was esteemed and considered a point of reference. As for the absences, in the proceedings it was shown that they were justified by the precarious health conditions of the mother and, later, of the teacher herself, who had undergone an intervention. “The defamatory machine reached the teacher in a moment of particular suffering and fragility, when the disease and the therapies were not yet finished, adding more suffering – underline by the Guild – it was a fury, a real media pillory to the damages of the teacher “.
In the end, in the presence of the judge, almost all the parents said they were sorry for what had happened and apologized to the teacher. On the other hand, having acknowledged the apology, he waived the compensation in exchange for an offer to the Grava Comprehensive Institute for the purchase of teaching material for teaching English. “It was a matter of principle – Riccardi specifies – I hope it can be useful for others too: teachers who do their job must be left alone, not pilloried”. On balance, this is a practically symbolic figure. But for the teacher it is the message that counts. “The teacher’s intent was mainly to ascertain that the allegations were unfounded. She was not interested in speculating on the story, but in fighting the increasingly frequent plague of parents who attack teachers without even bothering to verify the facts and start a dialogue – pulls the strings Michela Gallina, coordinator of the Treviso Teachers’ Guild – accusations and slander of this kind compromises the professional image by creating psychological difficulties: superficial and aggressive attitudes are not good for the school and take away serenity and motivation to continue teaching ».