Michelle Bella, a Lutz resident who accused a Veterans Elementary School teacher of shaking her son in front of her is now facing charges of filing a false police report to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO).
According to an incident report, Bella, 41, was visiting Veterans Elementary, located on S.R. 54 at Progress Pkwy., on September 27, to have lunch with her son, who is in the first grade. She claimed that she saw the teacher first yell at her son for running in the cafeteria and then grab him by the shoulders and shake him.
The teacher denied ever touching, grabbing or shaking Bella’s son.
After the alleged incident, Bella notified the school’s principal, Donna Busby, as well as Pasco County superintendent of schools Heather Fiorentino. Unsatisfied with the response from the administrators, Bella contacted PCSO to file a police report
A deputy came to Bella’s home at 26916 Roseann Pla. in Lutz to file a report, where she said the teacher took her son “by the shoulders and turned him towards her and began to shake him,” the PCSO report stated.
The deputy then started an investigation on the case where he reviewed the surveillance tape of the cafeteria at Veterans Elementary (which showed no signs of child abuse), and also spoke with several eyewitnesses. The deputy’s report stated that Bella’s claims did not match those of the tape nor the witnesses’ statements.
According to the PCSO report, Bella “willfully conveyed false information in a child abuse report.”
“I knew what I saw,” said Bella, to the deputies who arrested her on November 7. She was released from the Land O’ Lakes Jail on November 8 on a $150 bond.
Bella has previously been arrested in Pasco County for domestic battery. She also had been arrested in Tampa for trespassing in 2004.