A six-year-old Florida girl was involuntarily admitted to a mental health facility without her mother’s consent for 48 hours after school administrators claim she was acting uncontrollably on school premises. Studies continue to show that Black girls and teens are over-policed and thought to be less innocent than their peers in school settings.
The provision fell under a Florida law called the Baker Act, which allows for individuals to be involuntarily institutionalized if they are believed to be mentally unwell or pose a threat of bodily harm to themselves or others.
A 6-year-old special needs girl in Florida was involuntarily committed to a mental health facility because she was “out of control” at school, according to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office incident report https://t.co/cyh9Q1ILUd
— CNN (@CNN) February 17, 2020
On February 4, a social worker at social worker at Love Grove Elementary School in Jacksonville, Florida, called law enforcement authorities and said that Nadia King, 6, was “a threat to herself and others” and had been destroying school property and attacking staff, CNN reports.
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Her mother, Martina Falk, says that Nadia was diagnosed with ADHD and global developmental delay, which means that it takes longer for her to reach general childhood milestones like talking or walking. Falk said her child is currently operating on a 3-4 year-old’s level.
School officials say they did inform Falk that Nadia would be transported and that the Baker Act was evoked through an outside crisis care provider, but Falk says she was not given a say as to whether or not her daughter should be committed. She also says that she was not allowed to see her daughter for hours and when she did, she noticed her daughter was sedated.
Body camera footage released by the Jacksonville Sheriff show officers escorting Nadia to the River Point Behavioral Center, a facility without age limitations which treats those suffering from drug addictions and mental health disorders.
“She’s been actually very pleasant. Right? Very pleasant,” one unidentified officer can be heard saying to another officer. “I think they’re pushing the button because when I got here, she’s been so cooperative with me.”
Nadia can also be heard asking if she’s being taken to jail and asks officers for snacks.
“I think it’s more of them not wanting to deal with it,” a male officer says, according to the video obtained by CNN.
After she was released from the facility her mother enrolled her into a program for children with autism.
Falk argues that Nadia had recently changed medication, which may have caused her reaction. Falk along with her attorneys at the Cochran Firm want to bring the case before a Florida judge to help ensure better systems are put in place for parents before evoking the Baker Act.