Six-year-old girl committed to mental health facility by cops

Police bodycam footage has emerged of the moment a six-year-old girl was escorted from her elementary school in Florida by a group of cops before being committed to a mental health facility without her parents’ permission because she had a ‘tantrum’. 

On February 4, six-year-old Nadia Falk was taken to a mental health facility without her mother’s permission after staff at Love Grove Elementary School called social workers claiming the girl, who has ADHD and a personality disorder, was throwing things and harming staff. 

Nadia was taken to a mental health facility where she was sedated and held for 48 hours without seeing her mother, Martina.  

Now, Martina is speaking out about the horrifying ordeal and questions over why the child was treated so harshly are being asked. 

In Florida, children may be removed from school, transported to a psychiatric facility and held for up to 72 hours without parental consent under The Baker Law if there is reason to believe they have a mental illness and they are unable or unwilling to accept voluntary treatment. 

The law makes no differentiation between children and adults. 

Martina expressed her hurt at seeing the footage of her child being taken from the school in Jacksonville before being sent to River Point Behavioral Health Center under the Baker Act, a Florida law that allows temporary detention. 

She says Nadia was ‘locked away in an isolation room’ to calm her down.

Nadia Falk was taken to a mental health facility without her mother’s permission after staff at Love Grove Elementary School called social workers claiming the girl, who has ADHD and a personality disorder, was throwing things and harming staff

Falk said that her daughter, who has special needs, was traumatized and has demanded answers from Duval County Public Schools and the mental health facility where the girl was committed, News4Jax reported.

Sympathetic police officers are heard questioning why they were sent for. 

One even remarks: ‘She seems pleasant. the footage released by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on Thursday shows’.

Nadia was heard asking: ‘Am I going to jail?’ after cops were called in.

The female cop who led Nadia to the police car says: ‘She’s been so co-operative with me’. 

‘I think they don’t want to deal with it,’ another officer says.   

 Falk’s attorney Reganel Reeves, said: ‘She had a tantrum. six-year-olds have tantrums. Six-year-olds with special needs have tantrums. The school knew about her tantrums,’ Reeves said. 

‘The police officer had no independent basis to take this child for Baker Act.

‘What medical basis did they have to give this child anti-psychotic medicines? That’s what we need to know.’ 

Six-year-old Nadia is seen in the footage being taken away involuntarily from Love Grove Elementary School in Jacksonville by cops

Six-year-old Nadia is seen in the footage being taken away involuntarily from Love Grove Elementary School in Jacksonville by cops

Sympathetic cops led her by the hand and later questioned why they had been called out

Sympathetic cops led her by the hand and later questioned why they had been called out

Cops can be heard questioning why they had been called out to the school to take Nadia away

Cops can be heard questioning why they had been called out to the school to take Nadia away

The Baker Act 

The mental health law in Florida, known as the Baker Act, allows involuntary psychiatric examination of anyone, regardless of their  age.

Under state law, children may be removed from school, transported to a psychiatric facility and held for up to 72 hours without consent from their parents. 

In Florida 36,078 children were sent for involuntary psychiatric examination during in 2017-2018 alone, a rise of 3,000 from the previous year.

The act is intended to only be used if there is reason to believe that the person is impaired by their mental illness and they are unable or unwilling to accept voluntary treatment. 

The act was named after Maxine Baker, a former Miami State representative who sponsored the act in 1972. 

The Baker Law’s use on minors has been criticized by many.  

In 2019 Florida Representative Byron Donalds, a Republican lawmaker who represents Naples, said he was considering legislation to make sure parents were contacted before their child was Baker Acted.

He said that they were considering launching a lawsuit. 

Falk said: ‘I got a call saying that she is so uncontrollable that they had to Baker Act her.

‘They called me and said ‘Ms. Falk we’re calling to let you know that there’s nothing else we could do.

‘There’s nothing else you could do for my 6-year-old? When she was taken to that hospital to be locked away in this isolation, seclusion room. They said they did that as an attempt to calm her down.’

‘As a mother I feel helpless. I don’t see the benefit of the Baker Act. It’s not helping [children]. Locking them away, just to get rid of them.’  

Nadia's mother Martina expressed her pain at seeing her daughter being taken away by a group of cops and demanded answers

Nadia’s mother Martina expressed her pain at seeing her daughter being taken away by a group of cops and demanded answers

Falk said Nadia had an ‘episode’ at the elementary school. ‘She had the meltdown at school she was pushing over chairs, screaming yelling and running away from the teacher,’ Falk said, according to Jacksonville.com. 

She said her child was heavily sedated before being put on 48-hour hold and finally being released on February 6. 

‘When I went to see her, she was so drugged up she couldn’t even recognize me. She didn’t know who I was. She had on a diaper. My daughter is fully potty trained,’ Falk said. 

‘An apology would be nice, but it isn’t going to fix the pain that I feel watching that video knowing that my daughter may have been provoked because their staff were irritated or maybe had a bad day and didn’t want to deal with a special needs child. It’s hurtful.’ 

Nadia has not returned to Love Grove Elementary School and is temporarily attending Hope Haven medical facility's school

Nadia has not returned to Love Grove Elementary School and is temporarily attending Hope Haven medical facility’s school

An incident report filed by police noted that the 4-foot tall girl ‘was destroying school property, attacking staff, out of control, and running out of school.

‘The subject has been diagnosed with disruptive mood, disregulation disorder, and is prescribed Adderall,’ it continued. 

Nadia was diagnosed with ADHD in 2017 and is waiting for test results to determine whether she has autism. Nadia is on medication for mental health issues and is in a special needs class

Nadia has not returned to the school and is temporarily attending Hope Haven medical facility’s school. 

A spokesman for Duval County Public Schools said that the decision was made by Child Guidance, a private company, that receives cash from Florida’s Department of Children and Families.

‘Officers in the video were not present during the events which motivated the school to call Child Guidance, our crisis response care provider. 

‘The police officers were also not present when Child Guidance was intervening with the student. It was the mental health counselor from Child Guidance, not the police officer or school personnel, who made the Baker Act decision,’ a spokesperson said.

‘Our procedure is to call Child Guidance when a student’s crisis is not de-escalating and the student is at risk of self-harm or harming others. Our staff followed that procedure.

‘The student was calm when she left the school, but at that point, Child Guidance had already made the decision to Baker Act based on their intervention with the student. The judgement to Baker Act rested completely with the mental health professional.

‘We cannot speak on behalf of Child Guidance regarding decision making in this matter, but we have already requested a leadership meeting with Child Guidance to review this situation.’ 

Child Guidance did not immediately return a request for comment from Dailymail.com.

The six-year-old girl was sent to River Point Behavioral Health Center, where she was sedated and held for 48 hours

The six-year-old girl was sent to River Point Behavioral Health Center, where she was sedated and held for 48 hours

 

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