RIVERVIEW, Fla. — A middle school teacher was arrested after reportedly slapping a student in her classroom Friday, Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies said.

Deputies say they were called to Giunta Middle School in Riverview around noon after a 13-year-old male student reported Sheila Vakili, 63, hit him in the face.

The student and others in the classroom at the time told deputies he had made "a profane comment." Deputies said Vakili heard the comment and thought it was directed at her, so she slapped him. The blow was strong enough to cause redness and swelling, according to law enforcement.

According to a news release from the sheriff's office, Vakili refused to be interviewed on the advice of her attorney and a representative from the teachers union.

Authorities said she was being charged with simple battery-child abuse.

"The safety of our Hillsborough County students is something we take very seriously," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "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."

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