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Elementary teacher arrested on drug charges

TAMPA — A fourth-grade teacher was arrested Tuesday, accused of possessing marijuana.

Wildalynn Harris, 23, was charged after detectives executing a search warrant at 17106 Heart of Palms Drive found her inside an apartment with 16 marijuana plants.

Tampa police described the apartment as a small grow house. Inside, they found the plants, 200 grams of marijuana packaged for resale, drug paraphernalia and $6,225 in cash, according to an incident report.

Harris was jailed and released after posting $2,000 bail.

Police say it was the apartment of Shawn Michael Crane, 24, who described himself in booking records as a server at Bonefish Grill. He was charged with possessing and manufacturing marijuana with intent to sell, as well as possession of drug paraphernalia. In the apartment, police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said, detectives found marijuana ashes in an ash tray and a bag of marijuana next to Harris' foot.

School officials placed Harris on paid leave after they learned of her arrest. The Hillsborough County School Board will consider her employment at its Oct. 7 meeting. She could be suspended without pay.

Harris joined the Hillsborough County school district two years ago, working first at Hunters Green Elementary and, most recently, at Turner Elementary. She came with strong recommendations from former supervisors, including Vanessa Minick, who observed and evaluated her during her teaching internship at the University of South Florida.

"She was great with the kids, very thoughtful, a reflective teacher, responsible," said Minick.

Linda Cobbe, spokeswoman for Hillsborough County schools, said parents can expect to be notified by letter about the arrest.

Elementary teacher arrested on drug charges 09/23/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 4:01pm]
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