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November 14, 2002

Teacher deported can return to teach

From: Sarasota Herald-Tribune, FL
Nov. 14, 2002

The Associated Press

A teacher from Albania deported in July will be able to return to the United States and teach at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind.

U.S. Education Department officials have granted Loreta Dylgjeri a waiver that overturns her deportation.

"You cannot believe how many letters, postcards and parcels I've gotten from the people of Spartanburg," Dylgjeri, 39, said by phone from her home in Elbasan, Albania.

Kelly Long, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said the State Department and the Department of Immigration and Naturalization would jointly approve Dylgjeri's waiver, allowing her to return. It's unclear how long it will take for the agencies to finish the paperwork.

School officials bought a round-trip, open-return airline ticket when Dylgjeri left this summer.

Dylgjeri holds a master's degree from Aleksander Xhuvani University in Albania. She was the only teacher at the school here who taught transitional behavior to students with vision loss. The school had been unable to fill her position because of a shortage of teachers with the required training.

She started at the school in 1995. She originally came to the United States on a two-month, federally sponsored study program.

Because of Albania's political unrest at the time, Dylgjeri immediately requested asylum, and repeated appeals of her application denials enabled her to remain in the country until she was deported.

Everyone at the school is happy Dylgjeri is returning, said school President Shelia Breitweiser.

"Aside from the fact that Loreta is filling a key position, she is loving and caring to the children as well," Breitweiser said.

Dylgjeri often returned to the dorms to help put children to bed in the evening.

In September, school officials sent a box full of letters written by children to officials working on the case.

One child wrote, "I need her to come back because I don't have anyone to tuck me in."

Since July, Dylgjeri has volunteered at the school where she formerly worked as a principal, and at a center for orphaned children.

"I've been just trying to help wherever I can," Dylgjeri said.

Information from: Herald-Journal

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