No charges will be filed against woman who used wooden stick to discipline child

Photo source: Shannon Lewis

The woman at the center of a controversial paddling video will not be charged by Pensacola authorities. It is a video that for some is difficult to watch.

A Pensacola woman grabbed her phone and pressed record when she noticed a woman using a "wooden paddle" to strike a child. The video was posted on both Instagram and Facebook. It has since gone viral with more than 70,000 viewers.

Shannon Holmes caught the incident on camera with her cell phone then took a picture of the unidentified woman's license plate.

"In my head I'm just thinking, like, 'this can't be real.' This is something you see on TV. This is not something that you necessarily see in person, let alone in daylight in a very public place," said Holmes.

Holmes, a Pensacola mother, recorded the footage as the unidentified woman hit the child in the parking lot of a restaurant.

"You could see the fear in his eyes, like this isn't his first time going through this. So, once he turned around again, she swapped him again. She hit him again, then she threw the board in her vehicle, and they went right back into the restaurant like nothing ever happened," Holmes explained.

"My first instinct was to get out of the car, but I thought to myself, 'if i get out of the car and interrupt, and she did this in public, he's probably going to get it ten times worse when he gets home."'

The brief aftermath of the child falling down to the ground and crying had Holmes in disbelief.

She said there are ways to discipline children effectively that doesn't involve a wooden paddle.

"I feel like by me videotaping and getting her tag, I could do something to possibly help that child, because he obviously doesn't have a voice where he could speak for himself and tell what's going on. I feel like I should be that child's voice because that's so not right," said Holmes.

People on social media are questioning whether the woman's use of 'discipline' was right or wrong. Channel 3 News alerted authorities. The Pensacola Police Department and DCF launched an investigation.

PPD released the following statement:

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) spokeswoman DaMonica Rivas Smith released the following statement:

"The Department of Children and Families does currently have an open investigation regarding this incident. We are working closely with the Pensacola Police Department to assist with their criminal investigation.
Parents have the right to choose corporal discipline or other disciplinary action. However, no disciplinary action should result in the harm of a child as explained in Florida Statutes 39.01(2) and 39.01(30)(a)4."

Channel 3 News will air the eyewitnesses in-depth interview on our newscast.

You can count on WEAR-TV to bring you a live updated on-air and online.

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