Ashley Barker claims she's dying to avoid work

7:21 PM, May 30, 2013   |    comments
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By Kenneth Craig

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFTV/CNN) - A Florida teacher is accused of making up a story that she and her father were terminally ill so she could skip class.

Officials with the Polk County School District say Ashley Barker kept up the ruse for a year.

Polk County School District officials say Ashley Barker told a heartbreaking story. The first grade teacher said her father was sick and dying and so was she.

For nearly one year, it appears they took her word for it, letting her leave early, giving her days off, and making special accommodations for something that they later found out was a massive lie.

It's something parents of students at laurel elementary school, can't even make sense of.

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

The district wouldn't say how many days she actually skipped class, but according to the termination letter, over the course of one year she sent her principal 120 emails about she and her father's terminal illnesses.

When allegations surfaced about Barker's tale, district investigators say they discovered the teacher's story was entirely made up. Her father, wasn't sick, and neither was she.

"Doing that for that long, and not being caught, I don't know what to say about that, I don't know why they didn't notice it before," said Ortiz.

When the district confronted Barker, they say she admitted she was just sitting at home the entire time. But when WFTV went by that home Wednesday to get her side of the story, she was nowhere to be found.

Barker is fighting her termination from her job and her case is expected to go to a formal hearing before a judge.

WFTV says it reached out to barker and her attorney through e-mails and phone calls but received no response.


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