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A 6-year-old kindergartner was held in a behavioral health center for two days without her mother's consent.
The mother's attorney intends on taking legal action against the school.
The involuntary hold was allowed under the "Baker Act," which is designed to commit those who are a risk to themself or others.
Attorney Reganel J. Reeves believes the Florida law is being used too liberally and wasn't intended for a child "throwing a tantrum."
A Florida kindergartner was taken from her school in a police car to a mental health center and held for two days — all against her mother's wishes.
The school utilized the "Baker Act," a Florida law that allows involuntary commitment if someone is a threat to themselves or others.
An attorney for King's mother, who plans to take legal action against the school, said that the law is being used inappropriately.
"They're liberally using the Baker Act," Attorney Reganel J. Reeves told Insider. "Instead of using it as a last resort, they're using it as a first resort."
On Feb. 4 Martina Falk received a call from a mental health counselor at Lake Grove Elementary School in Jacksonville telling her that her 6-year-old, Nadia King, was throwing a tantrum.
Declining to speak about Nadia's behavior, citing privacy laws, a spokeswoman for Duval Public Schools said that it wasn't the school that made the decision to Baker act, but rather a third party licensed mental health professional employed by Child Guidance.
A spokesman declined to detail specifics of Nadia's behavior to the Times, citing privacy laws.
An incident report from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said that Nadia "was destroying school property, attacking staff, out of control and running out of school," the Times reported.
"When a student's behavior presents a risk of self-harm or harm to others, the school district's procedure is to call Child Guidance, our crisis-response provider," the school district told the Times.
Police body camera footage from Nadia's trip to the behavioral health center doesn't appear to show a child in crisis.
In the video, which was viewed by Insider, the child can be heard talking calmly with the transporting deputy about snacks and her family. She tells the deputy her mother's name and the deputy tells her they're on a field trip.
"She's actually been very pleasant," the deputy can be heard in the video telling a colleague who was tasked with following them in another cruiser to the facility.
In the video, she also tells the other deputy that the girl had been "so cooperative."
"I think it's more of them not wanting to deal with it," the second deputy said, apparently referring to the school.
When Nadia's mother arrived at the mental health center, she was told that the girl was being held for 48-hours and she wasn't permitted to see her until 6:30 that night, Falk told the Times.
Falk said that when she did see her daughter, the girl was sedated in a secluded room, Reeves said.
"I was crying, I was hysterical, I was angry," Falk told the Times reporter on Monday. "I don't think she should have been Baker Acted. Why did they feel this was necessary?"
"The officers in the video were not present during the events which motivated the school to call Child Guidance, our crisis response care provider," the schools spokesman Tracy Pierce said in a statement. "The police officers were also not present when Child Guidence was intervening with the student."
Nadia, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and global developmental delay, is prone to outbursts and tantrums, her mother told the Times.
She had enrolled Nadia at Love Grove Elementary, which has a student body of about 420, because of its services for children with special needs.
Her mother has since moved Nadia temporarily to a school that specializes in teaching children with autism, Reeves said. Falk can't afford to keep her in the private school and is trying to find a public school option, Reeves said.
Reeves said that the body camera footage, in which one of the deputies seems confused over why she was asked to transport the child, shows that the school overreached.
Since the pending litigation was first reported, about 10 other parents have reached out to Reeves with similar stories of how their own children were treated under the Baker act.
"Kids are being committed to mental institutions and they don't have to give [parents] any real notice of what happened," Reeves said.
Falk couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
"Right now she's just in the mode of trying to get her life back in order," Reeves said of Falk. "She's trying to work and try and take care of her child."
Read the original article on Insider