Teacher who threw feces at boy may keep job
By Scott Valentine, ca.today.reuters.com, April 3, 2007

TORONTO (Reuters) - A Toronto school principal who pleaded guilty to throwing human excrement at a 12-year-old boy may get her job back, officials said on Tuesday.

"It's quite possible she'll end up back in her old position," said Grant Bowers, a lawyer for the Toronto District School Board.

Maria Pantalone, 49, a sister of Toronto's deputy mayor, was granted an absolute discharge on assault charges Monday after a judge said she "had already suffered enough," according to court documents.

The charges stemmed from an incident on July 30, 2006, in which police said Pantalone threw feces at the boy, who was not one of her students, hitting him on the shoulder.

The circumstances of the assault cannot be described due to a court publication ban designed to protect the identity of the victim. The judge in the case, however, said they were unique.

"I couldn't take it anymore. It was total, total frustration," Pantalone testified, according to media reports.

She was suspended with pay from her position as an elementary school principal in August 2006.

In his ruling, the judge said Pantalone was "publicly embarrassed, if not humiliated. She has suffered more than most."

Pantalone is on alternate assignment at school board offices and has no contact with students, Bower said.

Once the school board completes its own investigation, she could return to her previous duties.

"The investigation won't take long," Bower said. "The fact that she admitted to the offense is certainly a factor."

A Toronto school board policy document details rules for the school at which Pantalone was principal that include the need to "show respect for yourself and others," and "keep hands, feet and objects to yourself."



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