Authorities are investigating Central Elementary School Principal Melissa Carter after Carter paddled a 6-year-old student in front of her mother.
WINK News, a Fort Myers, FL-based TV station, received a video from the parent of the 6-year-old who was abused by her school’s principal. Within the shocking visual, the child is told to bend over while Carter spanks her with a wooden paddle. One of the school’s clerks, Cecilia Self, assists with the beating.
The child’s mother said her daughter was disciplined in this manner all because she damaged a computer worth $50. When mom received the call from the school about what took place in class on April 13, she was told her daughter would be paddled with a deputy present. However, when she arrived at Central Elementary, she paid the fee and was led into the principal’s office where her daughter, Self and Carter awaited without a deputy.
The child’s mother claims what happened next could traumatize her daughter. Instead of stopping the principal, she chose to record the incident with her cellphone hidden in her purse.
“Nobody would have believed me,” the mother told WINK News in Spanish. “I sacrificed my daughter, so all parents can realize what’s happening in this school.”
The woman, who chose not to be identified to protect herself and her child, tearfully told the news outlet she “never hit” her daughter and that Principal Carter swung the paddle with “hatred.” She took her daughter to see a doctor and documented all of her bruises.
While the state of Florida is one of 19 states that still allows corporal punishment in schools, Central Elementary falls within Hendry County School District, which has banned the policy. In Hendry County schools, “The superintendent shall designate sanctions for the infractions of rules, excluding corporal punishment,” its guidelines states.
The family’s lawyer, Bret Provinsky, works with undocumented immigrants. He called the paddling “aggravated battery.” “They’re using a weapon that can cause severe physical harm,” he said. “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.”
Provinsky claims the state attorney’s office is currently deciding whether they will bring criminal charges against Carter. WINK News confirmed the Department of Children and Families is also investigating the matter. The school has declined to comment on whether Carter is still employed.
“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 child’s mother said.