Fairfax Co. teacher accused of assaulting special needs student

A special education teacher at Marshall High School in Fairfax County, Virginia, was charged Friday with assaulting a student who has special needs, according to authorities.

Fairfax County police said that they arrested Amy Bonzano, 50, of Falls Church, after concluding their investigation into the incident that was first reported to authorities on Oct. 13.

A school employee originally witnessed Bonzano assault the student on Sept. 28, according to police.

“During the school’s investigation, another teacher reported they had observed Bonzano physically assault the student approximately six months earlier. That incident was not reported at the time it occurred,” police said in a release.

In a letter to the school community, Marshall High’s Principal Jeffrey Litz said the student’s family and the proper authorities were contacted about the alleged assault the same day it occurred, and that Bonzano has been on administrative leave ever since then.

“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,” Litz wrote. “I want you to know that the person who did not report the previous incident was immediately placed on leave.”

Litz said that the issue was one that his school administration takes very seriously.

“As educators, we are entrusted with the well-being of the children in our care every day. It deeply affects us when someone appears to have broken that trust,” he continued in the letter.

Bonzano’s arrest follows several setbacks for Virginia’s largest school system, including a previous sexual assault lawsuit and scrutiny of the district’s disproportionate suspension of special education students.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the department at 703-246-7800 and select option 4. Additionally, anonymous tips can be sent to Fairfax County Crime Solvers using the P3 Tips App or by calling 1-866-411-8477.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for WTOP.com. Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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