Six-year-old Nadia King was sent to a mental hospital without her mother’s consent and held for 48 hours after she allegedly threw tantrums at her kindergarten. According to the child’s mental heath counselor, she was “out of control and throwing a tantrum.” The Sheriff reported the girl had been “destroying school property, attacking staff and running out of the school,” although she apparently was “pleasant” and “cooperative” on the way to the mental hospital.
The school called the girl’s mother to inform her that her daughter would be held at the mental hospital – and according to Florida’s Baker Act, a law that allows the “involuntary commitment of people who are judged to be an imminent danger to themselves or others” – the school was able to commit her against her mother’s wishes and without advance notice and an opportunity to object and have any hearing before a judge. The young girl was taken to River Point Behavioral Health, an 84 -bed mental hospital that treats patients of all ages for a variety of issues including emotional, developmental, behavioral and substance abuse. When the child’s mother arrived at the center, she was not allowed to see her daughter until hours later that evening and, when she did, her daughter was sedated and in an isolated room. Her mother was furious that her child had been removed from her school and sent to the center and sedated without her consent.
Outraged? A violation of parent’s rights? Of course, as a parent reading this, you cannot fathom how you’d feel if your child was involuntarily committed and sedated without your consent or your advance notice and the opportunity to object. But, hard as it is to believe, this is not a violation of your rights as a parent, because, when state or federal legislators enact laws such as Florida’s “Baker Act” empowering certain individuals with power and authority to act, purportedly, to protect people, that power and authority is almost universally upheld in the courts. (Using the same logic as why seat belt laws are not a violation of your right to do as you want.)
Simply being outraged and talking about it or assuming this will never happen to your child and you or to any friend or family of yours won’t change the incredible power of the state (all states) and the Federal government to take your child away, administer medications, powerful medications, without your consent without, at least, an opportunity to object and have an impartial judge decide what is to be done. The states and the Federal government have incredible power and authority that they give . . . to themselves! How can you change the laws? Ensure your role and your rights as a parent are balanced with the rights of society (through the government)?
Outraged? Shouting “Parents’ Rights!” Protesting? Petitions? Change nothing. What will make a difference in the lives of children and their parents? Becoming powerful and speaking with and through the collective voice of parents in the USA so that laws such as this one, policies such as what was followed here, will be changed. Until then, getting red in the face angry, being upset and yelling, and forming an online social media group to “protest” such treatment will not make a difference when the media has a very short attention span, our society, as a whole, thinks there are “bigger fish to fry” in which we all are busy with our day to day lives, and legislators and other government officials do as they want knowing they will get reelected.
This involuntary mental health commitment without parental consent (or advance notice) is due to legislation. See this link to the Florida Mental Health Act. To change legislation, money and voters are necessary to affect legislation (repeal, revision, enactment).
Should the law be rewritten? Yes, absolutely!
To get the attention of state legislators, the powerful people in the Governor’s office in every state and the leaders of each legislative body, requires influence, voters and “resources.” As individuals, we are all powerless. Look around the USA and ask yourself which organizations and groups of people are able to influence what laws are enacted, repealed or revised? You know which ones do. We don’t need to name them here. Correct, only the very large and powerful! They get their power through their members!
To make a difference in the laws and policies that affect your child and you, add your voice to that of other parents by becoming a parent-member of ParentsUSATM for only $29 per year (and, in return, also get discounts worth hundreds of dollars)! By joining with parents from all over the USA, you will have the power to change laws and policies that, until changed, will permit such an outrageous series of events as Nadia King and her mother endured!
Read more about what happened to young Nadia King here. To add your voice to the voice of other parents, join here.