CLEWISTON, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — Police are investigating after a principal initiated corporal punishment by paddling right in front of a little girl’s mother.
Brent Probinsky, the mother’s lawyer, said she got a call from the school last month, saying her first-grade daughter caused $50 worth of damage to a computer.
The mother was told to bring the money to the school to pay for the damage. When she got there, she was taken to the principal’s office, where she found her daughter, Principal Melissa Carter and another woman.
Then the principal took out a paddle.
The girl’s mother started recording on her cellphone. Carter is seen using a paddle to strike the girl three times. She starts crying after the first.
The little girl can be heard saying, “no, no.”
After that the girl sits down, crying, while Carter continues to yell.
“You better tell your momma you’re sorry. And you better not treat her like that either,” said Carter. “Because I’m going to tell you what, if your mom wants to come up to the school and spank you, and we can watch, that’s gonna happen.”
The child then tearfully says, “yes Ma’am,” when asked if she understands Carter.
The mother’s attorney said the principal invited the woman to bring in any other kids at home for a paddling if they’re disrespectful to her.
“I mean this is all Twilight Zone stuff, but it’s real and it really happened,” said Probinsky.
Florida is one of 19 states where corporal, or physical punishment, is legal in public schools from preschool through high school, but it is not allowed at the Hendry County School District, where this incident happened.
The school district policy states “the superintendent shall designate sanctions or the infraction of rules, excluding corporal punishment.”
“She’s seeking justice. What happened to her little girl is terrible. They inflicted severe corporal punishment on this first-grader, six-year-old, first year of school, who scratched a computer,” said Probinsky.
NewsNation has reached out to the Hendry County School District but has not received a response. The district has told other media outlets “no comment.”
Louisiana failed to pass a bid to ban paddling and other forms of corporal punishment in public schools. The state’s current law allows the state’s 69 school districts to decide whether or not to implement it.