Warning: This story contains video that some viewers may find disturbing. Discretion is advised.
The principal of Florida Central Elementary School in Clewiston, Hendry County, may face criminal charges after being caught on camera whacking a six-year-old girl with a paddle as her mother stood helplessly by and watched.
On April 13, the unnamed mom was called by the school, claiming that her young daughter had caused $50 worth of damage to a computer.
She arrived at the school intending to pay for the damage and was directed to go to the principal’s office. There, she found her daughter and Carter and a school clerk, as reported by local outlet WINK-TV. To protect the mother’s and the child’s identities, the news outlet did not name them.
The girl’s mom noticed no surveillance cameras were in the room, and Carter had begun to scream in anger.
“There were no cameras. What are we doing in this place? My daughter and I, alone,” she thought, and she began to feel uneasy.
The mother said that she hid her phone in her purse and decided to record the brutal punishment—fearing that authorities wouldn’t believe her otherwise. But she was worried all the time that she would get caught, which could have invited more trouble for her and her daughter.
“Nobody would have believed me,” the mom told the outlet. “I sacrificed my daughter, so all parents can realize what’s happening in this school.”
The young lady was being disciplined for potentially unintentionally causing damage to a computer, WINK News reported.
Carter is being investigated by the Clewiston Police Department and the Department of Children and Families. If she is found guilty, she may face charges because corporal punishment was not allowed in the Hendry County school district.
Clewiston police have turned over the case to the State Attorney’s Office for the 20th Judicial Circuit, which included Hendry County, according to the family’s lawyer, Bret Provinsky. Provinsky said the state attorney’s office was considering whether to file criminal charges against Carter and Cecilia Self, a school clerk who was also in the video.
It could be seen from the video that the 6-year-old pupil was bent over and held tightly by the school clerk named Cecilia Self, who was supposed to translate for the mother, while Carter used a wooden paddle to beat the girl.
“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 girl’s mom told the TV station in Spanish. “I had never hit her,” she added.
New York Post reports that she later took her daughter to the doctor to record the red marks and bruises caused by the paddle. “I’m going to get justice for my daughter,” the woman said, “if I could not do it in front of her, I’m going to do it with justice.”
Criminal charges may be brought against the principal and the clerk, says Bret Provinsky, a lawyer for the family, and the State Attorney is looking into the matter.
“That’s aggravated battery,” said Provinsky. “They’re using a weapon that can cause severe physical, harm.”
“The child is terrified, she feels vulnerable. There’s nothing she can do in the hands of these adults, who treated her so brutally, savagely, sadistically,” Provinsky added.
A 6yo child in FL. was beaten by her school principal, in front of her mother, for damage she allegedly caused to a computer. ⚠️ this video is graphic. It’s infuriating, outrageous & shocking & the principal is now under criminal investigation. https://t.co/M3cIZeTMKa pic.twitter.com/HPAcbYXlXe
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) May 2, 2021