Hendry County principal in paddling investigation wants to negotiate settlement

Published: July 12, 2021 3:30 PM EDT
Updated: July 12, 2021 6:51 PM EDT

The Hendry County elementary school principal who was caught on video paddling a student wants to negotiate a settlement with the state Department of Education.

WINK News first brought you the story of Central Elementary School Principal Melissa Carter in April.

Carter’s response to the state stems from Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran finding probable cause to justify sanctions against her.

Carter’s attorney, Steven Ramunni, originally told WINK News that he and his client would fight any sanctions against her. Now, the pair are saying they want to negotiate a settlement with the State of Florida and they have 45 days to do so.

Carter says the mother of a first-grade girl gave her permission to paddle her daughter. Carter hit the child three times.

Despite the video and the fact that the Hendry County School District’s investigation uncovered five other instances of Carter spanking students, the school board voted to reinstate Carter. She will be principal when the students return to school Aug. 10.

Carter’s actions directly violate Hendry County schools’ policy that banned corporal punishment in 2016.

She hopes to keep her educator’s certificate as a part of her settlement so that she can remain principal at Central Elementary. This is why timing is critical as the first day of school looms.