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Pinellas teacher accused of inappropriate relationship resigns

A Pinellas teacher facing disciplinary action resigned Tuesday amid charges that he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Superintendent Clayton Wilcox had recommended that the School Board fire Thomas J. Anderson, a girls varsity basketball coach at Seminole High School, after a district investigation revealed that he took a 16-year-old girl to his home during the school day.

Anderson, 59, who also teaches social studies, told district officials that he later dropped the student off a block from her house so that her parents would not find out that she had skipped school.

The student told investigators with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office that she gave Anderson a back rub in his bedroom. Anderson has denied the allegation.

Staff attorney Laurie Dart said that Anderson's resignation brings further district action to a halt, but that the incident will become part of his permanent file.

"If he moves to another school district, it will be part of the public record," Dart said.

Anderson was escorted from the Seminole High campus in February and placed on paid administrative leave.

During the district's investigation, Anderson told an official in the Office of Professional Standards that he saw the student walking off campus and stopped to talk to her. He said he knew the student had several personal problems and that he offered to take her to his house so they could talk.

The investigation concluded that Anderson had demonstrated a lack of professional judgment and that his actions were cause for dismissal.

Anderson has resigned twice before, once in 1980 after teaching for seven years at Clearwater High School, and again in 1984, after a year at Dunedin Highland Middle School.

He had been a teacher at Seminole High School since 1996.

Pinellas teacher accused of inappropriate relationship resigns 03/25/08 [Last modified: Thursday, March 27, 2008 9:04am]
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