An elementary school principal is under investigation and could face charges after a video showed her striking a 6-year-old girl with a paddle, the Washington Post reports.
According to the report, Melissa Carter, 37, principal of Central Elementary School in Clewiston, Fla., inflicted corporal punishment on a student for damaging a computer screen.
The now-viral video of the incident was captured by the student’s mother who was “hesitant to step in and stop the principal during the incident because of her immigration status, fearing she and her husband could face deportation to Mexico if she reported what happened,” the Washington Post reports according to TMZ.
According to the Washington Post, the mother was on campus to pay the $50 fee for the damage when she saw her child in Carter’s office along with the school clerk Cecilia Self, 62, who was there to provide Spanish-to-English interpretations.
According to the Washington Post, the mother was worried about the gathering so she concealed her phone in her purse to record the encounter.
The video shows Carter and Self positioning the child over a chair to prepare to be paddled.
After one strike, the child stands up but is reinstructed to turn around to be hit again.
According to the family’s attorney, Brent Probinsky, the mother wasn’t aware of what the principal was allowed to do.
While corporal punishment is legal in the state of Florida, it is reportedly not allowed in the school district in which the incident occurred.
According to the Washington Post, the police department has turned its investigation over to the State Attorney’s Office for the 20th Judicial Circuit.
“This principal on April 13 committed a aggravated battery of a 6-year-old child,” Probinsky said according to the Washington Post. “If the state attorney does their job, what they are obligated to do, we’d like them to charge the principal and her assistant with a felony.”