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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pinellas School Board to decide teacher's fate

24

March

It appears another teacher has crossed the line with a student, this time a male teacher in Pinellas County.

School superintendent Clayton Wilcox has recommended that Thomas J. Anderson, the girls varsity basketball coach at Seminole High School, be fired for having an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old female student.

According to School Board documents, Anderson, 59, told the school secretary on Feb. 7 that he was not feeling well and was leaving for a doctor’s appointment. After driving a short distance, Anderson picked up the girl and took her to his home, the record states.

Anderson told district officials that he saw the student walking off campus, stopped to talk to her, and took her to his house because he knew she was having personal problems. But the student told investigators with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department that Anderson had suggested she skip her fourth-period class and leave campus ahead of him to avoid being seen on school security cameras.

After arriving at Anderson’s house, the girl told investigators, Anderson took off his shirt and she gave him a back massage in his bedroom. Anderson denied receiving a back massage. He told investigators he dropped the student off a block from her home so that her parents would not find out she had skipped school.

Anderson, who has been a social studies teacher at Seminole High since 1996, was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the district’s investigation. The School Board is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the recommendation to dismiss him.

Donna Winchester, Times education reporter

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:37am]

    

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