Superintendent working to fire teacher following arrest

Matthew Labriola is accused of inappropriately touching girls at Providence Place Mall. (Providence police Photo)

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — The superintendent of Fall River schools is moving to fire a special education teacher accused of groping underage girls at the Providence Place Mall.

Superintendent Matthew Malone said Wednesday he had sent a letter to Matthew Labriola, stating that he intended to terminate Labriola’s employment. Malone said Labriola “will be afforded all rights under the law to defend himself,” after which Malone would make a final decision.

Providence police arrested Labriola last week, after several girls between the ages of 12 and 14 claimed Labriola intentionally bumped into them at the Providence Place Mall. According to police, the girls said Labriola grabbed their chests and touched their shoulders.

Labriola was placed on administrative leave from his position at Morton Middle School following his arrest.

“I’m not happy, I’m not happy,” said Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia (D). “This is actually the second one at the same school, which is a big problem.”

Correia was referring to the March arrest of Morton Middle School special education teacher Henry Tedeschi, who was charged with one count of possession of child pornography.

“Children in our school systems are very safe, we’re putting in procedures and policies,” said Correia. “I’ve charged the school department specifically the superintendent to make sure things like this are preventable when they can be, of course we can’t predict everything that everybody does.”

Correia said he has asked the superintendent to review hiring protocols and guidelines.