ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A little boy was sent to the school nurse Thursday after his teacher realized he couldn't sit down in class because it hurt too much, according to St. Pete police.

An arrest report says the school nurse called the child abuse hotline and a protection worker came to investigate. 

According to police, the child's mother, Alexandria Downs, 22, and the child's step-father, Zaebrus Sims Jr., 20, admitted they beat the child every couple of days when he does something wrong in school. 

Sims said he uses a switch made from a tree limb or a belt to spank the child, and Downs said she uses a belt or shoes to hit the boy in the back, shoulders and backside, according to the arrest affidavits. 

The report says there are visible marks and bruises

Police say both defendants told them they've been punishing the boy this way since regaining custody from his grandmother in August of this year. 

Downs, who court records show has a domestic violence arrest from 2018 that was later dismissed, is being held at the Pinellas County jail on one count of Child Abuse. Her bond is $5,000. 

Sims is charged with one count of child abuse, but he was released on his own recognizance. 

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