Florida school principal will not be charged for paddling student: state attorney

·2 min read

Melissa Carter had a request from the six-year-old student’s mother to spank her misbehaving daughter. That mom has since hired an attorney.

The principal of a Florida elementary school will not face criminal charges after paddling a six-year-old girl in her care.

According to the state’s attorney, Melissa Carter had the permission of the child’s mother to discipline her child. It was also the mother, however, who released video footage of the incident that later went viral.

Melissa Carter (left), principal of Central Elementary School in Clewiston, Florida, will not face criminal charges after paddling a six-year-old girl in her care. (Change.org)
Melissa Carter (left), principal of Central Elementary School in Clewiston, Florida, will not face criminal charges after paddling a six-year-old girl in her care. (Change.org)

The paddling happened at Central Elementary School in Clewiston, Florida on April 13 after school staffer Celia Self called the mother and told her to bring $50 to the school to pay for damages to school computer equipment.

In a report, Deputy Chief Assistant State Attorney Abraham R. Thornbury said the call was conducted in Spanish. Self reportedly told the woman her daughter had intentionally damaged the equipment, and the mother said that she had been damaging things at home as well.

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“Ms. Self further stated that (the mother) then requested that the school spank the child for her, to which Ms. Self replied that she would have to physically come to the school, specifically request such discipline, and be present during the spanking if she wished school staff to do it for her,” Thornbury wrote. “According to both Ms. Carter and Ms. Self, (the mother) then arrived at the school and made that request.”

The girl was hit three times with a paddle and warned that it could happen again if she misbehaved.

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“Both staff members appear to treat the child and her mother with respect throughout this process,” Thornbury contended in his report.

The child’s mother has obtained an attorney, and Thornbury alleges she has not been cooperative with the police investigation. He notes that in the state of Florida, parents have the right to use corporal punishment on their children and to grant that right to others with their consent.

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