A Latina mother who recorded her daughter being paddled by an elementary school principal has filed a lawsuit against the school district.
Melissa Carter, principal of Central Elementary School in Clewiston, is accused of paddling a 6-year-old female student for damaging a school computer.
The unidentified mother was called to the school on April 13 to pay a $50 fee for the damaged computer. She said when she arrived to pay the fee, she saw her daughter, the principal, and a school clerk waiting inside the principal's office.
She said Carter and the clerk escorted her and her daughter to the child's classroom where Carter beat the minor child with a wooden paddle in front of other students.
The mother began secretly recording as Carter and the clerk bent her daughter over a table.
The mother said she didn't understand what was happening due to a language barrier. She said she recorded the paddling because she didn't think anyone would believe the cruelty taking place at the school.
"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 mother told WINK News in Spanish. The mom said she never hits her daughter at home.
She said her child suffers from psychological and emotional disorders, as well as physical bruises from the paddling.
The video sparked outrage after it was posted on social media. many were shocked that this archaic, outdated mode of punishment was still occurring in public schools.
The mother pressed assault charges, and the Clewiston Police Department has turned the investigation over to the State Attorney's Office.
School district officials said Carter's actions went directly against the anti-corporal punishment policy in the school district.
Paddling and other forms of cruel corporal punishment have been outlawed in most civilized jurisdictions. But there are still pockets of resistance in the Deep South.
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