Fla. Student Is Held Down by Students and Paddled by Teacher

Screenshot of the paddling incident March 4, 2015, at Zarephath Academy in Jacksonville, Fla.
​News4Jax Screenshot
Screenshot of the paddling incident March 4, 2015, at Zarephath Academy in Jacksonville, Fla.
​News4Jax Screenshot

Roshika Smith, 18, felt the wrath of her private school’s corporal-punishment policy March 4 when she was held down by fellow students at Florida’s Zarephath Academy so that a teacher could paddle her, News4Jax reports. The incident was caught on video. Smith’s mother is threatening to take legal action against the school and the parents of the students who held her daughter down.

The video shows male students picking Smith up and turning her over on her backside so that a female teacher can paddle her. Smith had allegedly been running in the cafeteria and was being reprimanded for the offense.


Smith’s mother says that even though she signed the school’s corporal-punishment clause that allowed the private Christian school’s teachers to discipline her child in that manner, she told News4Jax that she doesn’t like how her daughter was restrained by other students.

“They could’ve hurt her,” Smith’s mother said, “with guys holding her like that, and then to flip her around and she’s screaming ‘Stop! Stop!’ … I think that was very wrong.”

“Once they got me, they flip me over and grab me by my arms and my legs,” Smith told News4Jax. “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 added.

Smith’s mother has sent five of her kids to the private school. Smith’s older sister, Roddericka Smith, reiterated her mother’s concerns that her sister was restrained by other students. “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,” Roddericka Smith said.

“I did not sign for them to hold her,” said Smith’s mother. “That’s against her will, to hold somebody and beat them like that.” She added, “I ain’t signing papers to be abused. I think that was abuse.”

Read more at News4Jax here and here.