Police hospitalize 7-year-old under Baker Act

this is scary. welcome to the new usa.

Police this week removed an unruly 7-year-old from his classroom and forced him to be hospitalized under the state’s Baker Act — against the wishes of his outraged parents.

The boy spent the night alone at Morton Plant Hospital before he was seen by a child psychologist the next day and discharged.

By all accounts, the second-grader threw a tantrum at Mildred Helms Elementary on Wednesday.

The Baker Act allows people to be taken for mental health examination against their will. But it requires a person show a substantial likelihood of causing serious injury to himself or others.

Absent that, police cannot use the Baker Act to take someone into custody against their will, even if they think the person needs help, said Raine Johns, who handles Baker Act cases for the Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender’s Office.


I do not find the law that scary. After all, the police can not allow anyone of any age to cause serious injuries or death to those around them. They have a duty to protect all. However, the police application of this law is poor and they should be held accountable. There simply was no evidence of a tantrum resulting in serious injury. Normally I would say they deserve the benefit of the doubt until the evidence comes out, and I still do. However, the overuse of this act by this one agency indicates a pattern of misuse and abuse. And yes, it is an arrest, regardless of what the school official said.

see this is what i find scary. a reasonable law that is well intrentioned, but it is so vague that a 7 year olds temper tantrum is enough to envoke it.

the law mentions that they will do serious harm to themselves or others. do you really think a cop couldnt have just held/restrained the child until he calmed down? there are ways to do it so that they cant attack and you still dont hurt them.

if they would use this law on a 7 year old, what happens if the antireligious crowd gets some extended power. who is to say they wont define fasting or something as harmful to yourself or you kids and have you commited.

this incident was bad enough. however the real scary part is the law itself. it is a bad nanny state law and should be removed before it gets abused any further.

I do not disagree, but the question would remain how to write a law that would give some authority to stop a grade school with a gun or knife. Perhaps the presence of a weapon might be included as a concrete criteria. However, I the idea of serious injury is also a concrete legal concept. It was just flatly ignored.

so we agree not a completely bad concept, just poor wording and even worse implementation, and a risk of serious abuse?

Yes. I can only speak for Texas, but the idea of serious bodily injury is narrowly defined as an injury that results in a broken bone, surgery or stitches. I would like the idea of making the presence of a deadly weapon required for such a drastic action as taking a child into custody.

In the case above, and probably many in this school district, the option of suspension and having the parents pick up the child would have more than sufficed. Then they could have required the parents to take further action to have the child return to school. This would have been far more in line to the proper care of children while respecting the role of the parent.


I have four children. At age seven they tend to act out.
This was an inappropriate way to treat a small child. Leaving him alone over night and separting him from his parents even without their consent?

He might be scarred for life. Maybe have nightmares all his life or feel seperation anxieties.


This sounds like a very bad tantrum. Yes, he is only 7 years old, but children that age have committed murder. The article says that the purpose of the law is to get someone into the mental health system, get them evaluated.

This boy was totally out of control, tearing apart the room, assaulting the teacher. If my child was in this class I would be very concerned. As a matter of fact, one of my children did report an incident similar to this with a boy who had a pattern of disturbing behavior, where he assaulted a boy with a pen who had been teasing him, then had a huge tantrum. I was very concerned when my child informed me of this and called the school about my concern.

I think the school did the right thing. Most likely the parents hadn’t been responsive on previous occasions and the behaviors were escalating, disrupting learning and terrifying the other pupils.

Now, of course, the parents are getting an attorney! No wonder the schools’ hands are tied. In our society everyone is a victim, and no one is responsible for their actions.

I. Know. That.
It. Is. In. The. Original. Article.
What. Is. Your. Point.?

And. What’s. With. The. Periods?


Some 7 year olds do have very serious mental health issues, including emotional disturbance. The kinds of acting out these problems may cause might seem like a temper tantrum, but they might actually be violently aggressive gestures.

I agree…we do not know the full extent of this situation. Some seven-year-olds can be extremely dangerous.


I hate to paraphrase Freud but sometimes a tantrum is just a tantrum,and sometimes authoritative overreation is just authoritative overreaction.Don’t make me get my periods out again.

I thought they were to the POINT.

Freud is read by many modern psychologists as a historical text. Should I parade out cases of really emotionally disabled children shooting classmates or killing themselves?


Nice one.

To get to the point, again, if one has a child in school or really anywhere in public, then I would think one would like to know there was something on the books to provide some protection from them being stabbed, injured, or killed by another child even of the same age. What are the police or teachers to do in such a case? Restrain the child attacking? There must be some statutory authority for such restraint. If the law can be expanded as it was in this case, it is a bad law. If it can not be expanded to tantrums, then it was bad policing. But some tool is needed so that *all *children can be protected.

I had my wrist broken by a 4th grade child. A child who was swinging a chair at another 4th grade child, which I prevented from connecting with the second child’s head. Worse, they were cousins!

I know of a teacher who was stabbed by a 5 YO who was threatening to kill her. She was able to overpower and restrain him long enough for his transfer to police custody.

I know of a 6yo prosecuted for racially motivated attempted murder; he literally was trying to stomp to death a child older than himself!

I know of a student who was convicted of attempted murder of a teacher at age 8… second grade. He was being reintroduced to the mainstream at age 12. I last saw him 3 years later, leaving a HS in handcuffs and shackles.

Some small children are capable of extreme violence.

Wow, Aramis, you know quite a few very disturbed kids!:eek:

When I was a child the principal had a paddle and used it.

Today there is very little that can be done to discipline.

By all accounts, the second-grader threw a tantrum at Mildred Helms Elementary on Wednesday. Carroll said the boy tore up the room during his fit. In the process, he stepped on a teacher’s foot and “battered” a school administrator.

Carroll said the tantrum was so bad that school officials had to evacuate students from the classroom.

So how could it have been legally handled?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.