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Substitute gets banned from schools

The school district investigates accusations that the woman made insensitive comments to a Muslim student.

Published March 10, 2005

TAMPA - A substitute teacher accused of making racially insensitive remarks to a Muslim student has been barred from teaching in Hillsborough County schools.

Shari D. Wilson, 24, was removed from the list of available substitute teachers after an investigation into allegations that she threatened a Muslim student named Islam. Wilson refused to make a statement to officials investigating the allegations, said school board spokeswoman Linda Cobbe.

"She was invited to come in to give a statement and she declined," Cobbe said. "I can't imagine a circumstance under which she would be allowed to teach here again."

The School Board will have to sign off on the decision, which could happen in April, Cobbe said.

In the meantime, Wilson will not be allowed to teach in Hillsborough County.

Records show Wilson graduated from the University of South Florida last year with a degree in biomedical sciences. She has substituted at nine campuses, most of them middle schools. Her employment file does not show any previous discipline problems. She could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Last month, Islam told his father that Wilson warned a sixth-grade classmate at Greco Middle School that Islam was "not good."

When Islam protested, Wilson threatened him and warned him "you will not see the light of day," said Islam's father, Marwan.

"Your mother must have been sleeping all her life because she did not teach you any manners," Islam said Wilson told him.

The boy complained to the principal, and Wilson was told to leave the campus. When she refused, Temple Terrace police issued her a trespass warning.

The Times is not using the family's last name to protect the boy's identity.

Ahmed Bedier, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Tampa, said he was pleased that the school district took appropriate actions first to secure the student immediately after the incident and then to make sure Wilson will not teach again.

The school district's action "reinforces the allegations of the student and reinforces that this teacher really didn't belong in the school," Bedier said. "We asked for a thorough investigation and appropriate disciplinary action be taken. They have done that."

[Last modified March 10, 2005, 01:14:16]

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