A Florida elementary school principal is under investigation for paddling a 6-year-old student who allegedly damaged a computer, according to reports. The child’s mother secretly videotaped the corporal punishment with her cellphone, she said.
The Department of Children and Families is also investigating, WINK-TV reported.
The family’s lawyer, Brent Probinsky, said police have turned over the investigation to the State Attorney’s Office for the 20th Judicial Circuit, the station reported. The prosecutor’s office is weighing whether to file charges against principal Melissa Carter and another female school employee seen in the video, the station reported.
“Put your butt out. Out,” the employee appears to say as she holds the first grader against a table.
The principal then strike’s the girl three times, the footage appears to show. Sobbing can be heard on the tape.
The child’s mother said she was summoned to the school and told that her daughter had scratched a computer screen, the station reported.
But the woman said she wasn’t told her kid was going to be paddled, and turned on her phone’s video function when she saw the wooden paddle come out.
“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 told WINK News in Spanish.
“I had never hit her,” the woman said as she wept. Probinsky told Inside Edition his client was too frightened to speak up at the time, and there was a language barrier.
“She was intimidated,” the lawyer said. “I said, ‘Why didn’t you intervene?’ And she said, ‘I was so frightened. I was frozen with shock and frozen with fear.'”
School officials and the principal have declined comment.