Thursday, November 23, 2017
Public safety

Principal at Coleman Middle, wife arrested on child abuse charge

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By ANASTASIA DAWSON AND JONATHAN CAPRIEL

Times Staff Writers

TAMPA — The two punches to the child’s rib cage left bruises, a detective wrote, and were later followed by a written threat: Text the coach again about "needing to talk," it said, and "you’ll end up with a lot more than a few bruised ribs."

It’s no case of school bullying.

Rather, a South Tampa school principal and his wife have been charged with child abuse.

Coleman Middle School principal Michael Lynn Hoskinson, 53, was arrested about 9 p.m. Monday at the couple’s home in the 3200 block of Wallcraft Ave. Kimberly Hoskinson, 49, an assistant teacher at Plant High School, was taken into custody five hours earlier at the Tampa Police Department.

Arrest reports say the abuse was a domestic violence incident involving a relative. The Hoskinsons were each charged with a third-degree felony: child abuse without great bodily harm. The victim’s age and gender were not made public.

A detective wrote that at 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 2, Michael Hoskinson punched the victim twice using his fist. In addition to bruising, the impact caused the victim to fall and injure a wrist, the report stated. Kimberly Hoskinson pushed the child and both adults yelled at the child during the confrontation, the detective wrote.

"The injuries were observed by two other classmates," the report states.

A week later, on Friday, Kimberly Hoskinson sent the child a text message that said: "Friendly Reminder: If we ever find a text similar to the one you sent Coach [last name redacted from arrest report] a few months ago about ‘needing to talk,’ or to whoever else, you’ll end up with a lot more than a few bruised ribs," the arrest report said.

Michael Hoskinson has been principal of Coleman since 2006 and joined the Hillsborough County School District in 1987.

His wife worked at Plant during the 2013-2014 school year and returned to a full time position in July 2016.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has opened a child protection investigation into the couple, a spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Families said Tuesday.

School district spokeswoman Tanya Arja said neither Hoskinson has been the subject of a previous investigation or complaint. She said the district’s office of professional standards is working closely with Tampa police.

"We are shocked by this arrest," she said in a statement.

Area superintendent Lisa Yost met with students and staff at Coleman Middle School on Tuesday, Arja said. The school district also sent counselors to both schools to discuss the arrests with staff and students.

"Our number one priority is the safety and well being of our students and we will ensure they have all of the resources they need to get through this difficult time," the statement said.

Michael Hoskinson is paid $108,935 as principal of Coleman, a school with 930 students at 1724 S Manhattan Ave.

His bail was set Tuesday morning at $7,500 and his wife’s at $2,000. Both had been released by day’s end.

Word of the arrests spread quickly at Plant High School, with students sharing the booking photos on Snapchat.

Isabella Mena, 16, a junior, said she couldn’t believe the charges. Michael Hoskinson was her principal at Coleman and his wife served as a substitute teacher in a few of Mena’s classes.

"She was very chill," Mena said. "Everybody loved them."

Sarah Lozano, 16, a junior at Plant, said Kimberly Hoskinson had been kind in class. "She never got angry," Lozano said.

Parents who picked up their children at Coleman said Michael Hoskinson would guide the children at the cross walk every day.

"He’s a great guy and I feel for him," said Brandy Fishman, who has twins at Coleman.

"People are quick to judge, but he’s a human being. He would never lay a hand on any of the students. I feel for him so much."

News researcher Caryn Baird and staff writers Sara DiNatale and Christopher O’Donnell contributed to this report.

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