Video of Principal Allegedly Paddling Child Watched Over 300,000 Times

A video showing a school principal in Florida apparently using a paddle to physically discipline a student has now been viewed on Twitter more than 300,000 times.

The video is part of a news report from Southwest Florida's WINK News, which first reported the incident on April 29. It appears to show Central Elementary School Principal Melissa Carter paddling a student at the school. The school is located in Clewiston, Florida.

WINK's report features footage of Carter using the paddle on the child while the student's mother is present. Cecilia Self, who is a clerk at the school, also appears on camera.

"A 6yo child in FL. was beaten by her school principal, in front of her mother, for damage she allegedly caused to a computer," tweeted David Begnaud, Lead National Correspondent for CBS This Morning.

"Warning this video is graphic. It's infuriating, outrageous & shocking & the principal is now under criminal investigation."

The video Begnaud shared had been watched more than 313,000 times at the time of writing.

The principal, Melissa Carter, is under investigation, according to WINK, which cited a report from the Hendry County Sheriff's Office. Some Florida school districts allow corporal punishment but not Hendry County.

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.

— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) May 2, 2021

The child and her mother have not been named in media reports but the mother spoke to WINK and her comments are featured in the video. The incident took place on April 13 when the school called the woman and told her that her six-year-old daughter had damaged a computer and she would have to pay a $50 fee.

When the woman went to the school in order to pay the fine, she was taken to the principal's office. Her daughter was there with Carter and Self.

The principal had mentioned paddling with a deputy present but there was no deputy in the office upon arrival, according to WINK. The child's mother also said she didn't fully understand the situation due to the language barrier.

The woman hid her phone in her purse and set it to record. The principal allegedly paddled her daughter in front of the woman.

"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," she told WINK, speaking in Spanish.

"I had never hit her," she said.

"There are no cameras," the woman said. "What are we doing in this place? My daughter and I, alone."

"Nobody would have believed me," she said. "I sacrificed my daughter, so all parents can realize what's happening in this school."

The family's attorney, Bret Provinsky, said that police in Clewiston have handed over the case to the state attorney's office for the 20th Judicial Circuit, which covers Hendry County. They will decide whether to bring charges against Carter and Self.

"That's aggravated battery," Provinsky said. "They're using a weapon that can cause severe physical, harm."

Newsweek has asked the Hendry County School District for comment.

A Socially Distanced Elementary School Class
A teacher walks among the the masked students sitting in a socially distanced classroom session at Medora Elementary School on March 17, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. A principal in Florida is under investigation for allegedly paddling a six-year-old student. Jon Cherry/Getty Images