Misuse of Baker Act Laws by Schools Persist Statewide

Policeman handcuffing teenager

We will continue to advocate against the misuse of Florida’s Baker Act laws. Handcuffing and transporting children in the back of a police car from school, as required by Palm Beach School District Police policy for every Baker Act, is a traumatic experience for a child. Parents should be informed immediately if their child is at risk of a Baker Act.  Children whose parents or caregivers are available to provide help should not be Baker Acted.  Elementary-aged children should not be Baker Acted.  Children with developmental disabilities, whose behavior is a manifestation of their disability, should not be Baker Acted. Our schools and law enforcement should be better trained.  Our children, especially our children with disabilities, deserve better.

An autistic child melts down. An officer makes a decision. A family suffers the consequences. A mental health law is being used more frequently across Florida on children who are not mentally ill.

Tampa Bay Times, by Leonora LaPeter and John Pendygraft, Published Dec. 8, 2019

Recommended Posts