Melissa Carter Central Elementary School Principal in Clewiston, Hendry County, Florida under investigation after hitting 6 year old girl with paddle as punishment.
A Florida elementary school principal is under criminal investigation for hitting a 6-year-old girl with a paddle as punishment for allegedly damaging a computer. The incident which has since gone viral was captured on video by the student’s mom.
Melissa Carter, head of Central Elementary School in Clewiston, was filmed bending the child over and hitting her several times with the wooden paddle, WINK-TV reports.
‘The hatred with which she hit my daughter, I mean it was a hatred that, really I’ve never hit my daughter like she hit her,’ the girl’s mom told the TV-station in Spanish. ‘I had never hit her.’
The mom, who wasn’t named, said she was called by the school on April 13 because her daughter had apparently caused about $50-worth of damage to a computer.
She went to the school to pay the fee — but was sent to the principal’s office, where she found her child with Carter and a school clerk, identified as Cecilia Self.
‘Nobody would have believed me,’
Then, ‘the principal started to scream,’ the mother said.
She looked around and got nervous after noticing a lack of surveillance cameras.
‘What are we doing in this place? My daughter and I, alone,’ the mom said she wondered.
So she hid her phone in her purse and decided to record the punishment — fearing that authorities wouldn’t believe her otherwise.
‘Nobody would have believed me,’ the mom told the outlet. ‘I sacrificed my daughter, so all parents can realize what’s happening in this school.’
The mom took her daughter to a doctor later that day to document the red marks and bruises caused by the paddle.
She is now worried about long-lasting psychological damage.
A 6yo child in FL. was beaten by her school principal, in front of her mother, for damage she allegedly caused to a computer. ⚠️ this video is graphic. It’s infuriating, outrageous & shocking & the principal is now under criminal investigation. https://t.co/M3cIZeTMKa pic.twitter.com/HPAcbYXlXe
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) May 2, 2021
‘Justice for my daughter’
‘I’m going to get justice for my daughter because if I could not do it in front of her, I’m going to do it with justice,’ the woman said.
The Clewiston Police Department and the Department of Children and Families confirmed that they are investigating the incident.
The State Attorney’s Office is now weighing whether to bring criminal charges against Carter and the clerk, according to Bret Provinsky, a lawyer for the family.
‘That’s aggravated battery,’ said Provinsky, an attorney who works with undocumented immigrants. ‘They’re using a weapon that can cause severe physical, harm.’
‘The child is terrified, she feels vulnerable. There’s nothing she can do in the hands of these adults, who treated her so brutally, savagely, sadistically,’ he added.
As of right now, Florida is one of nineteen states in which corporal punishment is allowed. Private schools have banned the practice but there are some public schools that still have the policy.
Policy not to demean students
Of note, the Hendry County School District policy does not allow corporal punishment.
Policy states: ‘The superintendent shall designate sanctions for the infractions of rules, excluding corporal punishment.’
The policy also encourages procedures that ‘do not demean students’ and ‘do not tend to violate any individual rights constitutionally guaranteed to students.’
It remained unclear why the principal resorted to physical punishment.
A change org petition to pursue criminal charges against the Clewiston, Florida principal has been filed.