Teacher at a Hillsborough County middle school accused of slapping student in class

Posted at 6:42 PM, May 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-19 18:42:10-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. -- A middle school teacher in Hillsborough County is accused of slapping one of her students in class.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office responded to a call at Giunta Middle School on South Falkenburg Road in Riverview after a 13-year-old male student reported that his teacher, 63-year-old Sheila Vakili slapped him during class.

Deputies later interviewed the student and his classmates regarding the alleged incident. Deputies were told the student made a profane comment during class. Vakili heard the comment and thought the student called her a profane name.

According to the students, Vakili smacked the student in the face "with enough force to cause redness and swelling."

Vakili was charged with simple child abuse.

"The safety of our Hillsborough County students is something we take very seriously," said Sheriff Chad Chronister in a statement. "A teacher is supposed to be a role model to the young people in their classrooms and set an example for how to behave, even at a time of frustration. It is never acceptable for a teacher to become physically violent with a student."

According to the Hillsborough County Public Schools, Vakili was a regular substitute teacher for many years with the district. Vakili became a fulltime teacher in 2011 and did not have any previous issues, HCPS said.

Vakili will not be on campus as the investigation continues, HCPS said.