Florida principal arrested after failing to report child abuse in classroom to authorities

Patrick Lalone was arrested and charged in connection to a May 2021 incident with failure to report child abuse. He was later released on bond.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

Hillsborough Police have arrested and charged a Tampa elementary school principal after he failed to report child abuse that occurred in a classroom of his school to the proper authorities.

Patrick Lalone was arrested and charged in connection to a May 2021 incident with failure to report child abuse. He was later released on bond, according to Fox 13.

Investigators say Lalone, who was the principal of Davis Elementary School at the time, was show video from a classroom incident in which a teacher and an 8-year-old student were yelling at each other.

The student was sitting at his desk, with the teacher standing in front of the desk. The video showed the teacher "aggressively shoving" the desk into the victim, "at which time he cries out in pain," the report said.

The child said in an interview that his left hand and hip were hurt in the incident, the affidavit said.

Lalone contacted Hillsborough County Public Schools Professional Standards instead of the Abuse Hotline after viewing the video and speaking with a witness.

The incident was depicted as "verbal only" and Lalone said he would be giving the teacher a written reprimand.

Professional Standards was later provided with the video taken in the classroom, where they noted that the altercation was not "verbal only," and then contacted both the teacher and Lalone, handing them both discipline.

Investigators say Lalone did not contact the abuse hotline until he was ordered to by the school district. His report to the line though indicated that the victim was not injured, and the teacher did not intend to hurt the student.

"The affidavit said Lalone never told the victim's parent about the incident," Fox 13 reported.

The parents were informed nearly three months later on August 13, 2021, Authorities said.

On August 16, 2021, the witness of the incident gave investigators information regarding reports of additional inappropriate behavior by the teacher, both verbal and physical.

Lalone reportedly never addressed those incidents.

"The witness told deputies that on one occasion, Lalone had gone into the classroom and a student in the class told him the teacher hits him," according to Fox 13.

The witness added that Lalone did not speak to the student that made the accusations, nor did he investigate the incident, but said he "sarcastically responded" to the child.

"The defendant acknowledged he is a mandatory reporter," the affidavit stated. "This hindered the possibility of a proper investigation by law enforcement."

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