Salvini said in response: “I don’t know who it was who proposed, controlled, ordered, or suggested, but for someone to put on a par Interior Minister Matteo Salvini – who may be likeable or unlikeable – with Mussolini or even Hitler, seems absolutely demented to me”.
The provincial office of the Ministry of Education suspended Dell’Aria because she had not been sufficiently vigilant towards the work of her 14-year-old charges.
The school project was aimed at likening Salvini’s security and migrant decree to the Fascist racial laws on Holocaust Remembrance Day in January, suggesting that the League leader was killing African migrants.
An opposition MP, Carmelo Miceli, called on Education Minister Marco Bussetti to “clear up an extremely serious incident”.
According to the Education Ministry, Bussetti had tasked his offices to look into the matter with the territorial office in which anti-Jewish racial laws from 1938 was compared to the security decree.
Rosa Maria Dell’Aria, 63, a 30-year teacher at a Palermo school, the Vittorio Emanuele Industrial Institute, told Italian news agency ANSA: “I consider what has happened the greatest bitterness and the biggest wound of my professional life”.
She added: “That work had absolutely no political purpose nor did it tend to indoctrinate students who have always worked freely as they themselves also declared to inspectors who arrived at the institute at the end of January.”
The teacher was suspended for two weeks last Saturday from the provincial school office, but the controversy continues. The students claimed that “the images in the power point presentation were not chosen by the teacher who only gave us a hand in fixing the text from the linguistic standpoint”.
Voicing solidarity with the teacher, they said “no one was forced to do the project”.
The school’s vice- principal Giuseppe Castrogiovanni intervened on the matter, but while expressing solidarity with his colleague, he said he wanted the controversy to end. “We wanted the story to remain confidential, too much noise is not good,” he said.
Castrogiovanni added: “The news became public and we are sorry. We did not want to create this much controversy. The problems of our Institute has to be solved between ourselves.”
Igor Gelarda, responsible for local authorities for the League party, explained that “freedom of expression was not a pass”.
Journalist and commentator Corradino Mineo also weighed in on the issue saying that the teacher had contributed to the fabrication of fake news. He said the teacher should be charged with “abuse of power and being an obstacle in the performance of a public service”.
Centre-left opposition Democratic Party House deputy president and culture committee chief Anna Ascani complained that the sanction against the teacher was too harsh, because after an inspection of the provincial school office, she was suspended for fifteen days while her salary was halved.
“Is the next step a return to the (Fascist youth organisation) Opera nazionale balilla?”
Prosecutors for the Lazio Audit Court have meanwhile opened a probe into the use of State flights by Salvini. ANSA sources confirmed the probe on Thursday, after a report published by Italian daily La Repubblica.
Salvini has denied the reports that he has been using State Police aircraft to reach rallies for his League party. “There is no abuse, no wrongdoing, no State or Police flight used for rallies, they were always used for institutional commitments,” he said. “I challenge anyone to show the contrary”.
Salvini went on to say that the probe “makes me laugh”. The department of public security said that Salvini’s use of police flights had been legitimate.
It said that during his 11 months at the interior ministry, Salvini had used State Police flights for 19 trips, of an average duration of half an hour, over 10 days.
“The interior minister is attributed the top level of protection by law which gives the right to use State aircraft to all individuals at the same level”.