38,000 little children were handcuffed and dragged into psychiatric facilities in Florida, without families' consent
Every year, approximately 38,000 children in just one state -- Florida -- are hauled away to mental facilities. Without even knowing too much more, anyone with a heart can tell this is obviously wrong.Sign PetitionSign Petition
Sign the petition to demand the Florida state legislature repeal the erroneously labeled "Florida Mental Health Act!"
The 38,000 children who were seized in the 2018-2019 school year weren't benefiting from some sort of wonderful, utopian mission to improve the mental health of children in Florida, as the title of its Act might lead you to believe. Nope. Instead, this law -- also known as the Baker Act -- is often used routinely on disabled, autistic, and Black children to basically scare them into submission.
What happens in many cases follows a template: a child is at school and displays a child's level of emotional reactivity, becoming upset for a moment because someone took their toy or something personal is happening at home. The school officials could call the parents and ask for their help, or send the kiddo home.
Instead, the kids are often "Baker Acted," meaning officials call the police instead. When the cops show up -- without any sort of specific training in mental health, psychiatry, autism or disabilities -- they restrain the confused youth, put them in handcuffs, drag them out of their classroom away from their peers, and involuntarily lock them up in a psychiatric facility. Without their families' consent.
The children are often there for days, even up to a week, before being released after psychiatric examination. And during that time, for the most part, they are not allowed to talk to or see their parents.
We are talking about little children -- some as young as 5 years old! -- being locked up and away as though they're criminals, without explanation, and kept alone, away from their caregivers.
Medical experts in Florida and the U.S. agree that this practice is harmful to children, and is in no way necessary or beneficial. At this point, it's just used to terrorize small children who don't understand what's happening. But Florida authorities don't seem to care much.
If Florida supposedly cares about the children and their mental health, then lawmakers need to repeal this antiquated and harmful law NOW! Demand an end to the Baker Act's reign of terror!