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Hillsborough school security officer physically abused autistic student, deputies say

Michael Lashman, 57, aggressively restrained the 9-year-old student at Knights Elementary School after the child became verbally disruptive, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

PLANT CITY — A school security officer at Knights Elementary faces a child abuse charge after he aggressively restrained an autistic student, causing minor injuries to the child, deputies said.

Michael Lashman, 57, was arrested Thursday, two days after the incident involving a 9-year-old student, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Teachers at the school called the Sheriff’s Office after witnessing Lashman become violent with the student, deputies said.

Moments before the incident, the student had become verbally disruptive, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Teachers were able to calm the child, but Lashman aggressively pulled the student into the building, causing the child’s body to strike a doorway, deputies said. Multiple teachers then saw Lashman push the student against a wall.

The student had minor swelling on the back of the head and did not require medical attention. After interviewing witnesses, deputies secured a warrant for Lashman’s arrest and he turned himself in Thursday night at the Orient Jail.

Records show Lashman was released Friday after posting $2,000 bail. His listed home address is in Lakeland.

Lashman has been employed as a security officer for the Hillsborough County School District since November 2018, according to district spokeswoman Erin Maloney. He has been removed from duty pending termination, Maloney said.