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Published On: Mon, Feb 17th, 2020

Florida 6-year-old institutionalized by school without parental notification

A police body camera video contradicts the story from school officials which resulted in a 6-year-old being institutionalized and medicated after an alleged outburst in school. The lack of parental consent and notification has escalated the story to the national headlines.

“I want answers. An apology would be nice, but it’s not going to erase the pain that I feel watching that video knowing my daughter may have been provoked because their staff was irritated or maybe had a bad day and didn’t want to deal with a special needs child,” Martina Falk said at a news conference on Thursday night.

In the video, the little girl is calmly being escorted to a patrol car. In another part, an officer, who is off-camera, can be heard saying, “she’s perfect, she’s fine.” One clip shows an officer suggesting school staff may be “pushing” the girl’s buttons.

Check out the video coverage below.

Falk’s attorney, Reganel Reeves, said the staff at Love Grove Elementary knew the girl had a disruptive mood disordered and the third-party mental health professional licensed by the school should not have invoked the Baker Act, which allows the involuntary institutionalization and examination of a person who is deemed a threat to themselves and others.

“She had tantrums. Six-year-old kids have tantrums. Children with special needs have tantrums,” he said.

Reeves said he believes having the girl taken into custody was an act of false imprisonment and a civil rights violation against a child with special needs.

Duval County Public Schools said it is up to a mental health professional to decide if a Baker Act is appropriate and not a decision the school district makes.

A spokeswoman said the school’s handling was reviewed and found legally compliant and in the best interest of the student and other students.

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay

Falk said she wants a full review of the policies.

“She’s just not able to communicate due to her disability, she can only tell you bits and pieces, mommy they locked the door, they wouldn’t let me out, mommy they gave me a shot,” said Falk.

Reeves said the school has provided no evidence of the girl acting out, or what staff might have done to calm her.

“What was she doing that was so horrible, that this officer did not see,” Reeves said.

The child was sent to a mental health facility, where she stayed without her family and was reportedly injected with Thorazine.

“What medical basis did they have for injecting this child with anti-psychotic drugs,” Reeves said.

“This is shining a light on Florida’s Baker Act system,” he added, questioning the abilities of the school staff who were involved in the decision to Baker Act the 6-year-old.

“If you can’t handle a 50-pound child, what are you doing in education,” he said.

Reeves said the involuntary confinement will have a lasting effect on the child.

“Her life will never be the same,” he said.

 

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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