The Baker Act and Children in Schools

Most parents are unaware that their child can be taken from school and placed in a law enforcement car to be transported to a psychiatric hospital, without their permission.  The Baker Act is Florida’s psychiatric hold law and within this law, there are provisions to detain an individual if they appear to be a harm to themselves or others.  The criteria to be Baker Acted are very specific and allow for “willing and responsible family or friends” to provide their loved one with alternative services, that are less restrictive than a Baker Act.  Unfortunately, this no longer applies within the school property.  There was an amendment placed on an education law, in Florida, that surpasses any other law, including the Baker Act.  This amendment directs school personnel to immediately place any student, they feel is a possible risk to themselves or others, under the crisis intervention team and therefore they will remove the child from school and place them under the Baker Act.  It is important for parents to know this, as it is traumatic for the child and the parents to learn of this after the fact.  There are many things a parent can do to prevent this from happening if they work with their child to ensure that they never appear to be a risk to themselves or others within the school setting.