Clearwater, FL — If you are a parent of a child within the Florida school system, you would do well to scroll through our archives to see the potential danger your children face every day. The police state in Florida has become notorious over the years for beating children, cowering as children are killed, and using heavy handed tactics on little girls as young as 6-years-old. Just last month, TFTP reported on the video of a 6-year-old Florida girl being dragged from school in zip ties and loaded into a police cruiser. Now, it has happened again — this time, with a 7-year-old boy.
Tyeisha Harmon is demanding answers this week after her 7-year-old special needs child was handcuffed, arrested, kidnapped and thrown in a mental health facility without her consent. He had reportedly thrown a temper tantrum in class at Belcher Elementary. Harmon says her little boy has been diagnosed with ADHD and a mental health disorder.
As ABC Action News reports:
She showed ABC Action News paperwork filed with the district. His Individual Education Program notes he needs a “structured environment with clear routines and expectations.” Harmon says the school moved her son into a new classroom. She says he’s been in transition into the new classroom and teachers let him spend some time in the old classroom. But Wednesday was his first full day in the new classroom. The change, she claims, caused him to have anxiety and act out.
The school called Harmon but by the time she arrived she says learned her son was Baker Acted. The Baker Act is a Florida law that allows designated professionals including law enforcement, judges, doctors or mental health professional to initiate an involuntary mental health examination on a person or child who exemplifies a mental illness by displaying behavior that poses a threat to themselves or others. When it comes to children, most Baker Acts are initiated at school.
In Florida, the Baker Act is supposed to confine truly mentally ill people who are dangerous — a 7-year-old boy throwing a temper tantrum is hardly a danger to anyone. School officials, however, apparently thought otherwise.
Harmon said her son was held for hours in a mental health facility as he was examined by doctors. When he finally got home, he showed her the marks on his wrists from the handcuffs. It was utterly heart wrenching.
“He’s like 'mommy, I was handcuffed and look what they did to my wrists" she recounted.
Harmon explained to ABC Action News that it should have never gotten to the point of handcuffs and kidnapping.
“To handcuff him and put him in the backseat — not only did you handcuff him but you did it so tightly that it left marks on his hands and he’s seven. What’s he going to do? He’s seven and in the backseat," said Harmon, who is calling for school cops to be better trained. “It’s very serious because nobody’s kids should have to go through that."
Exactly what her son did to land himself in handcuffs and in the back of a police cruiser remains unclear. When asked, school officials released a vague statement claiming that he was a danger to himself and others. He is 7.
To keep you informed of important matters, on Wednesday afternoon a student had to be restrained for their own safety and the safety of others. The student was engaging in dangerous activity that could have hurt the student or others. Please know that restraint of students is only used as a last resort when other interventions have not resolved the issue. The safety, health and well-being of our students and staff is our highest priority.
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Sadly, these arrests appear to be getting more common. According to the most recent data over the last five year, 5% of all juvenile arrests in Florida are for children aged 9 and under — a truly shocking trend.
Just last month, TFTP reported on multiple instances of school police officers going after small children.
As we reported, Marina Falk received a horrifying call from school in February in regard to her 6-year-old daughter Nadia. Officials from Love Grove Elementary School called Falk to tell her that police had taken her daughter because she'd been acting out. Without her consent, authorities essentially kidnapped a 6-year-old girl and held her in a facility for two days.
As TFTP previously reported, just like Nadia, for throwing a temper tantrum, another 6-year-old named Nicholas, who has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, was kidnapped from his elementary school by police and imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital.
Nicholas was held, including multiple stints in a 'seclusion room,' for three days at River Point Behavioral Health.
Once admitted to the hospital, the staff stayed true to their tendency of holding patients and did everything they could to use the state to force Nicholas to stay. This was in spite of his parents' demands to let him out.
“I didn’t want him to be there at all,” Nicholas' mom told BuzzFeed News, adding that she immediately asked the facility to release her son because he was so young and didn’t need to be there.
“It felt like my child had been kidnapped,” she said. “I can’t even hug my kid and tell him it’s going to be okay.”
At River Point, as reported by Buzzfeed, Nicholas would be given a bloody nose by another child, get locked in a “seclusion” room at 3 in the morning, and wait more than 24 hours to see a psychiatrist, according to medical records provided by his parents.
His parents asked at least three times to take their son home -- every time, they were denied.
Also, in 2018, we reported on another child in Miami, Florida who was also kidnapped from school for a temper tantrum. He was just 7-years-old.
If you truly want a glimpse into how much the police state is infiltrating public schools, take a scroll through our archives, at this link.