A special education teacher at Marshall High School in Idylwood has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a student more than once, Fairfax County police announced Friday night (Dec. 2).
Two different employees reported seeing Amy Bonzano, a 50-year-old Falls Church resident, assaulting a student with disabilities, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.
The first report came on Sept. 28 from an employee who “immediately” alerted school administrators, police said. The school’s subsequent investigation uncovered an earlier incident shared by a teacher who “had observed Bonzano physically assault the student approximately six months earlier,” according to the FCPD’s news release.
“That incident was not reported at the time it occurred,” the police department said. “Our detectives were notified on Oct. 13 and assumed the investigation.”
After conducting “numerous” interviews, detectives obtained and served two summons on Friday with warrants for simple assault, a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia that carries a potential jail sentence of six months.
Listed as an intellectual disabilities teacher on the website for Marshall, which enrolls 272 students who receive special education services, as of the 2021-2022 school year, Bonzano has been placed on administrative leave, as has the teacher who didn’t initially report the assault they witnessed, principal Jeffrey Litz said in a message to the school community.
Dear Marshall HS Families,
I am deeply saddened tonight to inform you that Fairfax County police have announced the arrest of a special education teacher at Marshall High School who has been charged with assaulting a student. When the alleged incident occurred on September 28th, we contacted the family and the proper authorities, and placed the staff member on administrative leave. As the police reference, the investigation resulted in a staff member sharing that they had witnessed a similar incident six months earlier but did not report it. I want you to know that the person who did not report the previous incident was immediately placed on leave.
As principal, my primary responsibility is the safety and security of everyone who enters the doors of Marshall High School. This is something I take very seriously. As educators, we are entrusted with the wellbeing of the children in our care every day. It deeply affects us when someone appears to have broken that trust. Please contact Fairfax County Police Major Crimes Bureau if you have any information you would like to share at 703-246-7800, option 4.
I am here to answer your questions or concerns, and to support students in any way they need.
Jeffrey D. Litz
The FCPD says anyone with information related to this case or other possible incidents can contact its detectives at 703-246-7800, option “4.” The department also accepts anonymous tips through Crime Solvers by phone (1-866-411-TIPS) and online.
Bonzano is the second FCPS employee to get arrested for assaulting a student with disabilities this year. In September, an instructional assistant at Dogwood Elementary School in Reston was arrested when two teachers witnessed an alleged assault.
The news of Bonzano’s arrest came the same week that FCPS announced an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education requiring it to compensate special education students for services it failed to provide during the shift to remote learning earlier in the pandemic.
FCPS is in the midst of reviewing its special education program after a recent report indicated that students with disabilities are disproportionately suspended and generally struggle more academically compared to their peers.
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