Teacher investigated for Facebook posts wishing death on migrants

An Italian teacher faces investigation following a series of Facebook posts calling for refugees - including children - to be killed.

Teacher investigated for Facebook posts wishing death on migrants
The woman praised Mussolini and posted xenophobic comments on Facebook. File photo: AFP

The woman, an English teacher at the Marco Polo high school in central Venice, had shared online articles about migrant rescues with comments such as: “Another rescue… can't we let them die?”

She called the influx of migrants to the country as an “invasion” and “the plague of the third millennium” and referred to Muslim children as “future criminals, to be eradicated”, according to local paper Venezia Today.

The teacher's Facebook page has now been taken down, but Italian media have shared screenshots of the offending statuses. 

In several posts, she wished death on refugees, saying: “I hope they all drown… that no-one is saved” and “burn them alive”. 

Two deputies from the Italian Left party, Giulio Marcon and Celeste Costantino, have called for an “urgent investigation” into the high school by the Ministry of Education, to confirm if the teacher is responsible for the posts and whether she should face disciplinary action.

Macron used his own Facebook page to condemn the teacher's actions, asking: “What is a teacher who incites hatred teaching children?” 

The woman, a 59-year-old, also used social media to praise former Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini and to criticize several prominent Italian politicians.

In particular, she targeted Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, President of the Chamber of Deputies Laura Boldrini (whom she called a “disgusting whore, bitch”) and Venice's mayor.

In their formal request to the Ministry of Education, Marcon and Costantino described the xenophobic comments as “absolutely horrific”. 

They said that while “thousands” of social media profiles shared similar posts, such views were unacceptable coming from “the public profile of a teacher at one of the most important schools in Venice's historic centre, where there is a growing number of foreign and Muslim children”.

Around 1,000 children ages 14 to 19 study at her school, and the two deputies noted that “of course” many of them would be familiar with their teacher's posts.




‘It’s their loss’: Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

The UK is missing out by barring highly skilled Italian graduates from accessing a new work visa, Italy's universities minister said on Wednesday.

'It's their loss': Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

Universities and Research Minister Cristina Messa said she was disappointed by the UK’s decision not to allow any graduates of Italian universities access to its ‘High Potential Individual’ work permit.

“They’re losing a big slice of good graduates, who would provide as many high skills…it’s their loss,” Messa said in an interview with news agency Ansa, adding that Italy would petition the UK government to alter its list to include Italian institutions.

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“It’s a system that Britain obviously as a sovereign state can choose to implement, but we as a government can ask (them) to revise the university rankings,” she said.

The High Potential Individual visa, which launches on May 30th, is designed to bring highly skilled workers from the world’s top universities to the UK in order to compensate for its Brexit-induced labour shortage.

Successful applicants do not require a job offer to be allowed into the country but can apply for one after arriving, meaning potential employers won’t have to pay sponsorship fees.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP.

The visa is valid for two years for those with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and three years for PhD holders, with the possibility of moving into “other long-term employment routes” that will allow the individual to remain in the country long-term.

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Italy isn’t the only European country to have been snubbed by the list, which features a total of 37 global universities for the 2021 graduation year (the scheme is open to students who have graduated in the past five years, with a different list for each graduation year since 2016).

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL Switzerland, Paris Sciences et Lettres, the University of Munich, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute are the sole European inclusions in the document, which mainly privileges US universities.

Produced by the UK’s Education Ministry, the list is reportedly based on three global rankings: Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, and The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Messa said she will request that the UK consider using ‘more up-to-date indicators’, without specifying which alternative system she had in mind.