The 57-year-old teacher has been charged and suspended from the classroom after it was alleged he grabbed the student by the throat and punched her. The alleged assault took place at an alternative school run by the Toronto Catholic District School Board.
Toronto police announced [PDF] the arrest yesterday. The assault is alleged to have taken place in the teacher's office at the Annex campus of Monsignor Fraser College in downtown Toronto on April 15. Ten days later an investigation was begun and the teacher was arrested on May 1.
Ferdinando Marrello faces one count of assault.
According to its website, Monsignor Fraser College is an alternative school with seven locations in Toronto. Its students include adults who are returning to complete their high school education, recently arrived immigrants and students of high school age who are intellectually challenged or otherwise marginalized and in need of a non-traditional school setting. The school is run by the Toronto Catholic District School Board.
Marrello received a bachelor of education degree from the University of Toronto in 1994 and is a special education specialist. He runs the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program at the school.
Students were shocked. Alejandro Murillo, 19, said of all the teachers, it is hard to believe Marrello would punch a student, especially a teen girl. Murillo was not doing well at his regular high school and credits the teacher with helping him turn his life around.
John Yan, spokesman for TCDSB, said, "This is not reflective of the caring and compassionate environment that goes on in our schools in terms of teaching. These are allegations and they still have to be proven in the court of law."
Marrello is scheduled to appear in court June 5.