Melissa Carter, an elementary school principal in Hendry County, Florida, is looking at serious repercussions after paddling and berating a first-grade student in front of their parent. Horrified at what she saw, the child’s mother recorded the incident on her cellphone, leading to public outrage and an internal investigation. According to NBC Miami, Carter has been placed on administrative leave and could face criminal charges for the egregious act.
News Onyx reported earlier this week that the young student’s mother was called to the school on April 13. The child, a first-grade student at Central Elementary School in Clewiston, Florida, had allegedly been accused of damaging school property. According to NBC Miami, Carter told the mother that her child “needed to be punished.”
After arriving at the school, she witnessed the elementary school principal berating her child and hitting them with a thick wooden paddle. After feeling uncomfortable and unsure of what to do, the mother recorded the harsh paddling with her phone.
Carter is seen in the video yelling at the six-year-old, “No! Put your hands down!” as they try to avoid the beating. NBC Miami reports that she also stated, “You better be glad you’re not my daughter because I would spank you all the time for acting like that,”
The Hendry County School District opened an investigation after receiving the video from the student’s mother and placed Carter on administrative leave. The county’s sheriff’s office is also investigating the incident, which could mean criminal assault charges for Carter.
Brent Probinsky, a lawyer for the first-grade student’s family, told NBC Miami that he wants Carter to be prosecuted for the paddling, saying, “A principal of Central Elementary savagely and sadistically beat a child with a large paddle, a little 6-year-old, first year in school for scratching a computer,”
Carter has not publicly addressed the incident.