Mom Secretly Recorded Principal Paddling Girl, 6

Corporal punishment is banned in Florida district
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2021 2:30 PM CDT

A 6-year-old girl in Florida got in trouble last month for damaging a computer screen at school—but the principal who paddled her could be in deeper trouble. The district superintendent and the Clewiston Police Department say they are looking into the paddling, which was secretly recorded by the girl's mother, the New York Times reports. The video the mother recorded shows Central Elementary School Principal Melissa Carter hitting the girl three times as a school clerk holds her. After the beating, Carter shouted at the crying, hyperventilating child. Florida is one of 19 states where corporal punishment in schools is still legal, but it is not permitted under Hendry County District Schools policy.

The mother—who was told to come to the school to pay $50 for the damaged screen—says she started filming when she noticed there were no surveillance cameras in the office. "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, speaking in Spanish, told WINK News. "I had never hit her." She says that due to the language barrier, she didn't fully understand what was going to happen after she was summoned to the office—and because she is undocumented, she felt unable to intervene. A doctor she took the girl to afterward documented red marks and bruising caused by the beating. The girl is now at a new school, the Times reports. (More Florida stories.)

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