The posting of the crucifix in the classroom does not represent a “discriminatory act”. The opposing teacher has no veto power on the decision, but it is up to the school to find a solution that also takes into account his point of view. This is what was decided by United Sections of the Court of Cassation, with a sentence filed, ondisplay of the crucifix in school classrooms. Therefore, the request for compensation formulated by the teacher was not accepted, as it was not considered that his freedom of expression and teaching had been conditioned or restricted.
“The posting of the crucifix, to which, in a country like Italy, the lived experience of a community and the cultural tradition of a people, does not constitute an act of discrimination against the dissenting teacher for reasons of religion ”, explains the Supreme Court.
In particular, the question examined concerned the compatibility between the display order of the crucifix, given by the head teacher of a state professional institute on the basis of a resolution passed by majority vote by the class assembly of students, and the freedom of conscience in religious matters of the teacher who wanted to do his lessons without the religious symbol hanging on the wall. The Court of Cassation affirmed that the provision of the regulation of the twenties of the last century, which still governs the matter, in the absence of a law of the Parliament, is capable of being interpreted in accordance with the Constitution.
The classroom can welcome the presence of the crucifix when the school community concerned evaluates and decides independently to display it, possibly accompanying it with the symbols of other confessions present in the class and in any case seeking a reasonable accommodation between any different positions. The dissenting teacher does not have the power of veto or absolute interdiction with respect to the posting of the crucifix, but a solution must be sought by the school that takes into account his point of view and that respects his negative freedom of religion.
In the concrete case, the United Sections have found that the circular of the head teacher, consisting in the pure and simple order of posting of the religious symbol, does not conform to the model and method of a dialoguing school community that seeks a shared solution in respect of different sensitivities. . This entails the forfeiture of the disciplinary sanction imposed on the professor.
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