Toronto-area private school scrubs its web links to principal convicted of abusing student

·2 min read
Antonio Ross, who has also used the name Anthony Ross lost his teaching license due to professional misconduct involving interactions with students. He since became principal of the private Convoy International Secondary Academy. (CISA website - image credit)
Antonio Ross, who has also used the name Anthony Ross lost his teaching license due to professional misconduct involving interactions with students. He since became principal of the private Convoy International Secondary Academy. (CISA website - image credit)

Hours after media reports revealed a disgraced former Toronto-area public school teacher was the principal of a local private school, his name and any ties to him have been scrubbed from the school's website.

On Wednesday, CBC News and Toronto Star investigations revealed 57-year-old Antonio Ross was running Convoy International Secondary Academy, a private school with classrooms in Markham and a nine-hectare boarding school campus near Barrie.

As those investigations revealed, Ross was charged in 2018 while he was a teacher at the York Region District School Board with touching a teenage male student and making sexually suggestive comments about the teen's body.

He pleaded guilty in 2019, was ordered to provide a DNA sample and given a 12-month conditional sentence including four months' house arrest. Ontario's college of teachers pulled his teaching certificate in 2018 and determined the case amounted to sexual abuse.

Yet the private school where he was listed as a principal has now removed references to Ross from its website, including several messages from him as well as a video in which he was featured.

The video showed Ross extolling the school's campus, academic and extracurricular features. In it, he appeared to call himself the private school's principal.

A picture showing Ross with a student and other staff has also been scrubbed, along with a written message penned by him that detailed the past academic year at the school. That message now is now attributed to "CISA Administration".

Free to work in private school despite conviction

Though barred from teaching in Ontario's public school system, Ross was free to work in a private school despite his conviction.

The situation highlights the different rules for public and private schools in Ontario when it comes to criminal and professional background checks.

Doug Husby/CBC
Doug Husby/CBC

Public school boards in the province are legally required to collect such background information on all staff and even school volunteers. A conviction for assaulting a minor would normally disqualify anyone wanting to to work in the public system.

But while many private schools also conduct background checks on staff, they are not legally required.

Numerous calls to CISA about Ross's current status with the school were published have gone unanswered. It's not clear whether Ross is still the principal.

The school also didn't provide a response to earlier inquiries from CBC News about how he was hired in the first place.

CBC News has reached out to Ross directly on numerous occasions. He has not responded to questions.

In 2010, after allegations of sexual abuse were levied against Ross by another student, he was charged with five counts of sexual assault.

He was later acquitted of those charges.

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