Tags: teacher | fakes | illness | year

Teacher Fakes Illness for a Year To Get Time Off, Officials Say

Friday, 31 May 2013 06:48 PM

By Ken Mandel

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A Florida elementary teacher has been suspended after she admitted to spinning a tale that she and her father were terminally ill to avoid work, according to WFTV.com.

Polk County School District said first-grade teacher Ashley Barker kept the heartbreaking lie afloat for a year and benefitted from the sympathy of everyone around her. She was often allowed to leave early, received many days off, and given other special accommodations.

According to the termination letter, the district cited 120 emails sent to school Principal Julia Allen detailing the terminal illnesses affecting Barker's father and Barker herself. She's contesting her dismissal and will have her case argued before a judge. She is suspended without pay until a decision is rendered.

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"It was later discovered that you and your father were not ill and that you had lied in the emails," Assistant Superintendent Dennis Dunn wrote to Barker, according to ABC News. "When (Personnel Investigator Manny) Rodriguez asked you what you did during the time you did not go to work or were allowed to leave work early, you responded that you stayed home."

Local television station WFTV went to Barker's home Wednesday, but she didn't answer the door.

"That's kinda scary," parent Ralie Ortiz told the AJC. "Because if she lies about that, she can lie about anything."

Barker's story illuminates the irony that usually it's the kids who lie to avoid school, but a new study suggests that their parents haven't set good examples.

According to a November 2012 survey commissioned by Adecco Group North America, a temporary staffing company, nearly half of the 522 workers surveyed admitted to calling in sick when they weren't. Of those, some lied about deaths in the family, while others claimed to have jury duty.

Only 42 percent of those surveyed said they never lie to get extra vacation time.

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