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Florida principal under investigation for paddling 6-year-old student in front of her mother

The mother recorded the incident when she realized there were no cameras in the principal’s office

A Florida principal is in hot water after a video of her paddling a 6-year-old student for punishment has surfaced.
A Florida principal is in hot water after a video of her paddling a 6-year-old student for punishment has surfaced.

MYERS-NAPLES, Fla. – A Florida principal is in hot water after a video of her paddling a 6-year-old student in front of her mother for punishment has surfaced.

It all began when the mother of the student, who chose to remain anonymous, received a call from Central Elementary School on Tuesday, April 13, saying her daughter damaged a computer, WINK News reported.

In a report from the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, where this happened, the mom says the school mentioned paddling as a form of punishment with her and a deputy present. However, the mother, who is Hispanic, says she didn’t fully understand the process.

Later that day, the mother went to the school to pay the fee for the damaged computer, and school officials took her into the principal’s office.

“My daughter was already in the office. The principal started to scream,” said the mom.

As she looked around the office, she found there were no cameras, so she took matters into her own hands and recorded the incident.

“Nobody would have believed me,” she said.

She did what she thought was right and hid her cellphone in her purse and pressed record as the disturbing incident unraveled before her.

According to a report obtained by WINK News, Melissa Carter, the principal, and Cecilia Self, a school clerk, are the two women in the video. Authorities say Carter is now under investigation regarding the video.

“I sacrificed my daughter, so all the parents can realize what’s happening in this school,” said the mother.

In the Hendry County School District’s policies, corporal punishment is not allowed. It reads: “The superintendent shall designate sanctions for the infractions of rules, excluding corporal punishment.”

Hendry County Public Schools' policy on corporal punishment against students (Hendry County Public Schools)

The policy states that procedures should “not demean students” and “do not tend to violate any individual rights constitutionally guaranteed to students.”

“For aggravated battery, this is an aggravated battery. It’s battery using a weapon that can cause severe physical harm,” said Brent Probinsky, the family’s lawyer. “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 and really sadistically. If you look at that video, this principal was sadistic.”

The mother took her daughter to the doctor the same day where she documented the red marks and bruises she received from the paddling, but she is worried about the long-term psychological damage her daughter might receive from this.

“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,” she said.

WINK News said they tried contacting the Hendry County School District several times and the official statement from them is “no comment.”

Local Florida law enforcement will continue investigating this incident.


About the Author:

Nicole Del Rosario joined WSLS 10 in August 2020.