A 6-year-old Florida girl was sent to a psychiatric facility for two days without her mother’s approval after allegedly experiencing a tantrum at school, a family lawyer said.
The child reportedly received antipsychotics at the center, even without the permission of her mother Martina Falk.
The mother is now demanding responses from officials at the Love Grove Elementary School in Jacksonville for handling the February 4 incident.
Falk’s lawyer, Reganel Reeves, said a mental health advisor was called to school because Nadia was said to have a tantrum and throw chairs.
The counselor evaluated Nadia, who was diagnosed with ADHD and diagnosed with mood disorders, and found that she needed to be committed under the Florida Mental Health Act of 1971, commonly known as the Baker Act.
The Baker Act empowers Florida social workers to initiate involuntary prison sentences for children ages 2 and older without parental permission.
According to Reeves, Falk was only called and informed of the incident after Nadia had been briefed on the facility.
Falk, who burst into tears, said at a press conference on Thursday that her daughter was unable to communicate what had happened to her due to her disability.
“She can only tell you little things. ‘Mom, they locked the door. They didn’t let me out. Mom, they gave me a shot,” said Falk.
Members of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office were called to the school to assist and take Nadia to the facility. The body camera material from the police shows the girl how she can calmly leave school.
“You are not a bad person,” says a member of parliament and later adds that Nadia “acted very comfortably”.
A police incident report shows that school officials said Nadia “destroyed school property, attacked workers, got out of control, and left school.”
Duval County Public Schools’ Tracy Pierce told NBC News that the decision to sign Nadia under the Baker Act was not made by school district or police personnel.
An approved mental health counselor at the Child Guidance Center, a district mental health service provider, made this decision after the girl’s assessment.
“The officers in the video were not present during the events that motivated the school to call the children’s guide. The police were not present when the children’s guide intervened with the student,” Pierce said. “The student was calm when she left school, but by then Child Guidance had already opted for the Baker Act based on her intervention with the student.”
According to Pierce, the school only requests support from a Child Guidance Center advisor if a student shows behavior that is considered either a risk to themselves or to others.
She said that several steps are followed to try to de-escalate a situation before calling an advisor and notifying the student’s parent immediately if the advisor decides that the child should be committed under the Baker Act.
The children’s advice center did not immediately return a request for comment on Saturday.