Queens teach suspended after ‘Shore’ punch

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A drunken bar patron caught punching a “Jersey Shore” star in a video that went viral on the Web was removed from teaching at North Queens Community High School in Kew Gardens Hills last week, a city Department of Education spokeswoman said.

Brad Ferro, 23, of Deer Park, L.I., has been sent to a “temporary reassignment center” after city officials discovered the former gym teacher had pleaded guilty in New Jersey last month to simple assault after police said he punched 21-year-old Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi at the Beachcomber Bar & Grill in Seaside Heights, N.J., in August.

Polizzi is on the MTV reality show “Jersey Shore,” which has been criticized for promoting negative stereotypes of Italian Americans.

“He was reassigned early last week before the episode ran,” DOE spokeswoman Ann Forte said in reference to the scene that was slated to show Ferro punching Polizzi, of Marlboro, N.Y.

MTV ultimately decided to pull the scene after numerous people, including officials from domestic violence groups, condemned the assault shown in a promotional video that was viewed millions of times last week on the Web site YouTube. Police said Ferro stole Polizzi’s drink at the New Jersey grill after he had been flagged by bar staff for having too much to drink.

When Polizzi got mad at him for swiping her alcoholic beverage, Ferro punched her in the face, police said.

Judge Damian Murray of the Municipal Court in Seaside Heights, N.J., sentenced Ferro to a $500 fine, six months’ probation and anger management courses Nov. 9. Ferro’s disorderly conduct charge was dismissed.

Ferro’s attorney did not return a phone call for comment.

Forte said while the incident happened in August, the DOE was not alerted to it until much later because it happened out of state, although she did not specify when DOE officials were notified. After learning of the event, Forte said the DOE conducted an internal investigation and placed him in the reassignment center Dec. 7 or Dec. 8.

The institution at which Ferro had taught, North Queens Community High School, educates transfer students who were chronically truant or dropped out of ninth-grade.

“Jersey Shore” is a reality show that chronicles the lives of eight twentysomethings in New Jersey. It has been condemned for its portrayal of Italian Americans, and groups such as UNICO National, the country’s largest Italian-American service organization, have criticized the cast for frequently using the terms “guido” and “guidette” to describe themselves on the show.

UNICO President Andre DiMino has called for advertisers to boycott “Jersey Shore.” Some companies have dropped advertising from the show, including Domino’s Pizza and American Family Insurance.

MTV did not respond to requests for comment.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

Posted 6:29 pm, October 10, 2011
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