Job dismissals over sexual orientation are illegal in Italy but Eugenia Libratore, the headmistress of Sacro Cuore school, reportedly said she decided not to renew the teacher’s contract because she “has the school’s environment to protect” and “moral ethics” to preserve.
Italy’s education minister Stefania Giannini has now intervened and told La Repubblica that if an investigation proves wrongful dismissal over sexual orientation, then the matter "will be dealt with severely".
The case arose earlier this month when the teacher, considered as being "adequate and professional", applied to have her contract renewed at the 1,000-pupil school.
At the time, Libratore told the Trentino edition of Corriere that she caught wind of the teacher's sexuality through rumours.
"I told her I had heard these rumours and hoped they were false rumours, because I have the school environment to protect.
"When choosing teachers for a Catholic school, I also do assessments from the point of view of moral ethics," she continued, adding that "the Catholic school has its own characteristics and set of educational guidelines that must be defended at all costs."
Her decision was also condemned Ivan Scalfarotto, one of Italy's first openly gay politicians and vice president of the Democratic Party.
“The fact that this institution receives money from the public makes this sad story even more intolerable," he was quoted as saying in La Repubblica.