Giunta Middle School teacher arrested for slapping 13-year-old, deputies say

The 13-year-old and classmates said teacher Sheila Vakili, 63, slapped him because she believed he had used a derogatory term against her.
Giunta Middle School teacher Sheila Vakili, 63, was arrested on a charge of child abuse after witnesses said she slapped a 13-year-old student in her classroom, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff?s Office. [HCSO]
Giunta Middle School teacher Sheila Vakili, 63, was arrested on a charge of child abuse after witnesses said she slapped a 13-year-old student in her classroom, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff?s Office. [HCSO]
Published May 17
Updated May 17

By CRAIG PITTMAN

Times Staff Writer

RIVERVIEW — A 63-year-old Giunta Middle School teacher was arrested Friday after witnesses said she slapped a 13-year-old student in her classroom, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheila Vakili faces a charge of child abuse.

Deputies were called to the school at 4202 S Falkenburg Road just before noon. The 13-year-old, whose identity was withheld by deputies, reported that his teacher slapped him in the face during class.

The 13-year-old and several classmates told deputies that “the victim made a profane comment during class.”

The teacher heard the profane comment, deputies said, and believed the student was referring to her.

“According to the students, Vakili smacked the victim in his face with enough force to cause redness and swelling,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

Vakili refused to speak to deputies, upon the advice of her lawyer and the teacher’s union, according to the Sheriff’s Office. She was being held Friday in the county jail in lieu of $2,000 bail.

Contact Craig Pittman at craig@tampabay.com or . Follow @craigtimes.

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