Video shows girl held down, paddled in school

By Francesca Amiker - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Corporal punishment in a local classroom caught on video has outraged the family of the girl being disciplined.

Cellphone video shot by another student obtained by News4Jax shows a teacher is seen paddling the girl while male students hold her down.

It happened last Wednesday at Christian based Zarephath Academy on Jacksonville's Eastside. The student, Roshika Smith, now 18, was so embarrassed by the incident that she has not returned to school.

"Once they got me, they flip me over and grab me by my arms and my legs," Smith said. "So once they did that, my teacher just felt like they got me so she paddled me on my butt, close to my back. So for two days last week I didn't come to school."

Smith said she was running in the cafeteria, and this was her punishment. She said about 100 students watched her get paddled, and multiple videos of the incident made their way to Facebook and Instagram. 

UNCUT VIDEO:  Cellphone video of paddling

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said that the student's mother did sign a corporal punishment permission form which allows for paddling.

Pastor James Brant, who is over the school, had no comment when asked if other students were allowed to hold a student down for the paddling

Smith's family is questioning if things were taken too far.

"I believe my mom signed a contract for them to paddle students, but nowhere in the contract where they can show me where it's OK for students to hold my sister when the teacher paddles them," said Smith's older sister, Roddericka Smith.

The family is checking to see if it has any legal recourse.

News4jax spoke with local attorney, Rhonda Peoples-Waters, to see if the family could pursue any legal action.

"The family could ask the state attorneys office to review the video and determine if there were any battery charges that were committed, first of all. If the teacher committed battery, if that corporal punishment was deemed not to be reasonable - as well as if the students committed battery by doing an unwanted touching to the other student," said Peoples-Waters. 

Attorney Rhonda Peoples-Waters also said that there could be civil action and Smith's mother could sue the parents of the children who held her down. 

 

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