Have you had an illegal Baker Act? Do you have questions as to what an illegal Baker Act is? It is upsetting to find yourself Baker Acted without knowing the reason for it or understanding whether it was an illegal Baker Act or not. The Florida Baker Act law is long and most people don’t have the time to read it when faced with a Baker Act situation.
Among the many points to be considered when distinguishing whether it was an illegal Baker Act or not, is the factor of who should have been notified. This is especially true when children are Baker Acted. Mental Health Rights advocates can help to walk you through the factual information so you understand all points.
This year, a Student at Wilson High School was Baker Acted, after she made some troubling comments. Her parents were not notified until they went to pick her up from school. Both the news and the advocates who were interviewed are mistaken when they say that the school is not required to call parents prior to Baker Acting the child. This is not true. Per Florida Statute, 394.463, Involuntary Examination Criteria, (b) 1, the criteria include the provision that “it is not apparent that such harm may be avoided through the help of willing family members or friends.” If there are willing family members or friends who can prevent any such harm, the criteria are not met.
There is discussion about a Bill moving through Tallahassee that would mandate that the school notify the parents prior to the child being Baker Acted from any school location. This would help to cut down on illegal Baker Acts and would assist greatly, as most parents don’t even know that their child can be Baker Acted from school. Additionally, most parents do not know that they, when notified, can let the school know if they are able to prevent any potential harm. A parents’ nonconsent form, for this type of situation, is below. Parents can file this with the school and have it on record they must be notified if any school official or Sheriff Resource Officer or fellow student thinks their child is a potential risk to themselves or others.
NON-CONSENT BY PARENT
1. I, ___________, am the father/mother of the minor child(ren) subject to this non-consent
Current Name Gender Birth date School
___________________ ________ __________ _________________________
- I do not relinquish all rights to, custody of, and time sharing with this/these minor child(ren), _____________. I can provide an environment for __________ that is not dangerous, and I will prevent ________ from causing serious bodily harm to anyone in the near future. I will provide a safe environment and care for ___________, with full knowledge of the legal effect of this non-consent.
- I understand my legal rights as a parent and I understand that I do not have to sign this non- consent and do not release my parental rights. I acknowledge that this non-consent is being given knowingly, freely, and voluntarily. I further acknowledge that my non- consent is not given under fraud or duress. I do not give up my parental rights to and interest in this/these minor child(ren), and this non-consent may only be withdrawn if the Court orders it. I do not voluntarily relinquish all my parental rights to this minor child, and I give no permission for psychiatric examination for any purpose.
- I do not consent, release, and give up permanently, of my own free will, my parental rights to this/these minor child(ren), for the purpose of psychiatric examination.
- I do not waive any notice of ________’s removal from school grounds for the purpose of psychiatric examination. I want to be contacted in the event that involuntary psychiatric examination is being considered.
- I understand that pursuant to Chapter 394, Florida Statutes, ________ can only be psychiatrically examined if “Without care or treatment, the person is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for himself or herself; such neglect or refusal poses a real and present threat of substantial harm to his or her well-being; and it is not apparent that such harm may be avoided through the help of willing family members or friends or the provision of other services.”
- I am a willing family member, and intend to seek other services if necessary. I understand that I am swearing or affirming under oath to the truthfulness of the claims made in this non-consent and non-waiver and that the punishment for knowingly making a false statement includes fines and/or imprisonment.
Sworn to or affirmed and signed before me on _____________________ at ____________ a.m./p.m.
___________________, Florida, __________. Telephone No.: _______________________
STATE OF FLORIDA COUNTY OF ____________
NOTARY PUBLIC or DEPUTY CLERK
[Print, type or stamp commissioned name of notary or deputy clerk.]
_____ Personally known _____ Produced identification
Type of identification produced ___________________________
I hereby acknowledge receipt of a copy or duplicate original of this executed Consent and Waiver.
(Signature of school personnel & Title)
Source: New Student Baker Act Law, http://www.news4jax.com/news/new-student-baker-act-law/31813210