Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

District investigation clears teacher running for school board

TAMPA — A Freedom High School math teacher who is a candidate for the Hillsborough County School Board has been cleared by district investigators looking into an anonymous allegation that he made disparaging remarks to female co-workers.

But the investigators indicated that some students find the teacher, Michael Weston, rude and sarcastic. And some counselors, they said, have reported that an unusually high number of Weston's students asked to be reassigned to other teachers.

Weston, a candidate in the south Tampa district represented by School Board member Candy Olson, will not be disciplined. Unrelated to the investigation, he awaits a hearing to determine whether he will be "renominated" or hired for another year.

A nontenured teacher who frequently speaks at School Board meetings, Weston said, "I try to teach math and responsibility." He said when he criticizes a student, he does so away from the class.

Responding to an allegation that he tells struggling students, "I'll see you next year," he said: "I tell them, 'I do not want to see you next year, even though it will be easier because I'll know your names.' "

The investigation was prompted by an anonymous letter to the district in February, which Weston shared with the Tampa Bay Times.

He and Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins, executive director of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association, said they do not know how the district chose the students who were interviewed.

Both said a far greater issue is the fact that Olson read the letter out loud at Tuesday's board meeting. She did so shortly after she and other board members discussed their desire to protect employees' privacy by changing how public information about discipline cases is released.

"In my opinion she crossed an ethical line and she acted in a hypocritical fashion. That to me is unconscionable," Baxter-Jenkins said.

Olson said she has not decided if she will seek re-election.

"I respect Stephanie, and she has to represent her teachers," Olson said. "I also think people need to know about the people who stand up and say things at every board meeting."

Baxter-Jenkins, an attorney, said she will represent Weston in his renomination case.

Reach Marlene Sokol at or (813) 226-3356.

District investigation clears teacher running for school board 04/04/13 [Last modified: Thursday, April 4, 2013 11:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Meet the five finalists for St. Petersburg College president


    ST. PETERSBURG — In the last month, five finalists for the job of St. Petersburg College president have taken campus tours and answered questions from students, faculty and staff.

    The Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr., Midtown Center of St. Petersburg College, opened in 2015, is considered a major accomplishment by outgoing SPC president William Law. [SOPHIA NAHLI  ALLISON  |   TIMES]
  2. What you need to know for Tuesday, May 30


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Austin Mahone performs at the Y100's Jingle Ball 2016 last December in Sunrise. Read our interview with him this morning. [Getty Images for iHeart]
  3. Clarity coming this week on Florida Gators, Malik Zaire


    After months of speculation, we could finally get some clarity this week on the Florida Gators and graduate transfer quarterback Malik Zaire.

    SEC flags outside the hotel of last year's spring meetings in Destin. This year's meetings could have a huge impact on the Florida Gators' season.
  4. At low point two years ago, West Tampa legion post has new home, new hope


    WEST TAMPA — Norma Hernandez is home again, playing bingo with her family.

    John Gebo calls out the numbers during bingo night at the West Tampa Memorial American Legion Post 248. 

The post closed its old headquarters two years ago as numbers dwindled and now occupies a new building. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  5. Hillsborough's stance on charter schools gets complicated as they take in more students


    TAMPA — School district leaders are talking tough as Gov. Rick Scott decides whether to sign a sweeping bill on education.

    Students enjoy lunch at a school run by Kid's Community College, a charter operation that has steadily added schools in the Riverview area since it arrived on the scene in 2005. The growth comes as charter schools become an integral part of the education landscape in Hillsborough County, even as school officials lament the impact of charter-friendly measures by the Legislature. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]