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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

10-day suspension recommended for Dixie Hollins High teacher



This story has everything in it but Spicoli from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

Matthew Wehner, a teacher at Dixie Hollins High, may be suspended 10 days - and lose more than $2,000 in salary - for a May 18 incident in which he allegedly gave a student who did not have a driver's license the keys to a co-worker's car. The car was then involved in an accident with another student behind the wheel.

According to district records (go to page 193 of the latest school board agenda packet): "On May 18, 2010, a student informed Mr. Wehner that she did not have the appropriate costume for dress rehearsal. Mr. Wehner directed the student to go home and pick up the costume and gave the student the keys to a car that he borrowed from a co-worker. Mr. Wehner permitted a second student to ride along with her. Mr. Wehner was unaware of the fact that the student to whom he gave the keys did not have a driver's license. A third student ultimately drove the vehicle. Mr. Wehner was not aware the third student left his class to drive the car to retrieve the costumes. While in route to the student's home, the vehicle was involved in an accident and the student driving the vehicle was cited."

The records go on to say that Wehner assumed the first student had a driver's license but "regrets this situation and wishes he would have used better judgement." A settlement agreement - which Wehner has signed, and which the board will take up Tuesday - says Wehner "agrees there is no disputed issue of material fact in this matter and waives any right to an administrative hearing."

The fourth-year teacher will lose $2,054 if the board approves Superintendent Julie Janssen's recommendation for a 10-day suspension. His current salary is $41,499.

The board will consider sanctions for three other employees on Tuesday:

* Dismissal for a 19-year teacher, most recently at Garrison Jones Elementary teacher, who the district has deemed incompetent and insurbordinate.

* A 20-day suspension for a Starkey Elementary teacher who allegedly stole a wallet containing $4,185 from a Publix check out register.

* A 5-day suspension for a bi-lingual assistant at Frontier Elementary for excessive tardiness.

[Last modified: Thursday, July 22, 2010 5:12pm]


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