Who is Melissa Carter? Florida principal paddles girl, 6, for breaking computer as mom helplessly films abuse
Corporal punishment is legal in Florida but banned in Hendry County School District
CLEWISTON, FLORIDA: Florida school principal could be facing criminal charges for spanking a six-year-old with a wooden paddle. The incident happened on April 13, but is now blowing up as the principal - Melissa Carter - is being investigated by the police.
According to reports, Carter punished the unnamed child for breaking a school computer. The mother, who was also not named, filmed the events and said she was scared to intervene. Corporal punishment is legal in Florida but banned in Hendry County School District. As the video made its way all over social media, many users slammed Carter for the brutal punishment. Social media isn't the only thing Carter has to worry about though. She is now facing an investigation by the Clewiston Police Department and the Department of Children and Families. Here's everything we know about the case and who Carter is.
Who is Melissa Carter?
Carter is the principal of Central Elementary School, located in Clewiston, Hendry County. The 37-year-old is no longer listed on the Hendry Schools website, so it is unclear if she has been removed from the role. The school district has refused to comment on the matter despite attempts from multiple press outlets. We couldn't find any social media links for Carter as well. It is unclear if she is present on social media or if she has taken down her accounts.
A snippet of the school website notes that she graudated from Clewiston High School in 2001. In 2005, she began her teaching career "in Hendry County in January of 2005 at Clewiston High School teaching Social Studies to sophomores and seniors." We managed to obtain Carter's voter records, which show she is a registered Republican. Beyond that, we haven't been able to obtain any information about Carter.
Punishment and aftermath
The mother, whose name has not been revealed to protect her identity says her child was punished for breaking a computer. Reportedly, she was called to the school on April 13 and asked to pay a $50 fine. She was also taken to the principal's room, where her child was waiting. With no other option, the mother began recording the incident. "Nobody would have believed me," she told WINK. "I sacrificed my daughter, so all parents can realize what’s happening in this school."
Reportedly, the mother does not speak fluent English and couldn't understand why her child was being punished. She later took her child to the doctor to document the bruises, and is also worried about the long-term psychological damage. The mother's lawyer, Bret Provinsky told WINK that the State Attorney's Office is reviewing the case to see whether they pursue criminal charges.
Here is a video of the incident, posted on social media by a CBS journalist. The video was originally published by WINK, who broke the story.
TRIGGER WARNING: This video contains graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.
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
Apart from the investigation, Carter is also facing a public petition. Rod V started a Change.org petition on April 1 calling for Carter to be prosecuted. At the time of writing, the petition has 223 of the required 500 signatures. It is also likely that Carter has been removed from her job since the school county has removed her from the website and there are no images of her on the school's Facebook page.
There is also a massive social media campaign against Carter, with many people slamming her for hitting a six-year-old.