When I read the Lakeland Ledger story over the weekend about a student being Baker Acted after an incident at a Polk County School I was concerned.You can read the story here.It was written by former Florida Today reporter Kimberly C. Moore.She appeared on Monday’s show and highlighted the story for us.You can hear that interview here.

In this case the student was 16 years old, autistic and mainstreamed into a regular classroom.Classes were changing and this student, in accordance with his IEP (Individual Education Plan), was wearing noise cancelling headphones as noise is a triggering factor for him as it is other autistic kids.A student bumped his seat and he yelled for her to stop it.He asked his teacher to be excused to the hall (also per his IEP) to be able to calm down.The teacher, not knowing or applying the IEP, refused and sat him in the back of the room where other students began “bullying” the student.His father says this went on for fifteen minutes when his son then said he would shoot the other students.

At this event the School Resource Officer was brought in, escorted the student out of the classroom and into a two hour interview where, frustrated and denied any contact with parents, stated he would just kill himself.Then, because of potential danger to himself or others, the student was Baker Acted.

The father sought legal assistance and filed a federal civil rights complaint.The issue was resolved, or seems to have been, to the family’s satisfaction.However, concerns still remain.We appear to Baker Acting kids in record numbers, most notably since Parkland and the implementation of the MSD School Safety Act.

Protecting students and school personnel is the goal.A piece of legislation crafted in three weeks is knee jerk at best.The law needs redrafted to eliminate the second amendment infringements that offer no protection at all and to clarify the duties of SROs or school Guardians.There are also the mental health considerations and bad school policies on dealing with criminal students.

In this case the special needs student’s IEP was not followed by an experienced teacher whose actions exacerbated the problem and an SRO failed to follow guidelines to have the parents present for the interview.The officer’s lack of understanding how to deal with an autistic child could also be a contributing factor.

Neither the legislature nor the cops can know it all or have all the answers, but we have to be able to do better than this.


Email within 30 days of this email date to schedule pick up of your mug!

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content