CLEWISTON- The Clewiston Police Department is investigating a case in which Central Elementary School Principal, Melissa Carter reportedly paddlled a student in front of the child’s mother. The incident was caught on video by the student’s mother. Cecilia Self, a clerk at school also appears in the video.
Florida is one of 19 states which allows schools to use corporal punishment, and 26 of the state's 67 districts allow it. But the Hendry County School District does not.
According to the police report, the principal explained the paddling to the mother, stating a deputy would be present. The child’s mother reportedly later said she didn’t understand the process due to a language barrier.
“That’s aggravated battery,” said Bret Provinsky, the family’s attorney. “They’re using a weapon that can cause severe physical, harm.”
The mother took her child to a doctor on the same day of the incident, in order to document her injuries. She said there were red marks and bruises on her child. In addition to the physical pain, the mother is also worried about the psychological damage that may have been caused by the principal’s paddling.
Carter is currently under investigation for using corporal punishment on a 6-year-old student who allegedly caused $50 worth of damage to a school computer, according to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office.
Department of Children and Families is also investigating the incident.
To protect the mother and her child’s identities, names have been withheld.
The Hendry County School District has responded to questions about the incident by saying “no comment.”