(NEW YORK) — A Florida first grade teacher has been suspended for allegedly lying about having a terminal disease so she could leave school early and take extra days off.
Ashley Barker, a teacher at the Laurel Elementary school in the Polk County School District, was informed by the school board that she would be recommended for termination earlier this week. Barker, who could not be reached for comment, is appealing the board’s decision and is suspended without pay in the meantime, according to a school district document.
In her termination letter, obtained by ABC News, the school administrator says that the school reviewed approximately 120 emails over the course of less than a year sent by Barker saying that she and her father were terminally ill.
Principal Julia Allen allowed Barker “days off and flexibility to leave early,” according to the letter.
“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.
“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,” Dunn’s letter said. The letter concluded there was “just cause” for her termination.
It was not known what illness Barker allegedly claimed to be suffering from and she and her father could not be reached for comment.
District spokeswoman Julie Togba would not tell ABC News how they discovered Barker was lying, but did say they had never seen anything like this in their school district.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Ashley Fantz, Faith Karimi and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
Carma Hassan and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN Newswire