A 6-year-old child was hit with a paddle as her mother watched the “hatred” towards her daughter in a graphic video filmed at an elementary school in South Florida.
In the footage, the girl can be seen crying and pleading “no, no” as one woman holds her down and another smacks her at least three times.
“Finally you understand what’s going on”, one woman can be heard telling the child, while another later says: “Behaving and taking care of the stuff, you don’t keep messing up things.”
The principal of the Central Elementary School in Clewiston, Melissa Carter, is under investigation for allegedly administering corporal punishment for damage to a school computer, local CBS affiliate WINK News reported.
While the Hendry County District Schools did not immediately respond to The Independent, a spokesperson told WINK News that the school district had “no comment” in response to the outlet seeking a response from Ms Carter.
The family’s lawyer, Brent Probinsky, told the outlet the state’s attorney’s office is deciding whether criminal charges will be brought against the women in the video.
The State Attorney’s Office 20th Judicial Circuit confirmed in an email statement that it is “currently reviewing a matter that is part of an active investigation by the Clewiston Police Department”.
According to the Clewiston Police Department report seen by WINK News, the mother, who has not been identified, was called on 13 April to be told her daughter damaged a school computer. It would cost $50 to repair.
She told police she didn’t understand the process correctly, and when going to pay the fee she was taken into the principal’s office when the incident began.
Asked why she didn’t stop the beating, she told WINK News through a translator “if I had done it with my own hand, it wouldn’t be bad for me, I don’t know, I’d be in jail”.
After realising there were no cameras and worrying about what they were “doing in this place” alone, she began to film as she didn’t think anyone would believe her.
“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 … I had never hit her,” she told WINK News in Spanish.
“I’m going to get justice for my daughter because if I could not do it in front of her, I’m going to do it with justice,” the woman added.
Mr Probinsky, the attorney representing the family, told WINK that the incident constitutes aggravated battery with a weapon that can cause severe physical harm.
He said the mother took her daughter to document the red marks and bruises and is now worried about long-lasting psychological damage.
“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,” Mr Probinsky told the outlet.