NewsCitrus, Hernando County


10-year-old student with autism is Baker Acted at school, parents are furious

Posted at 6:49 PM, Feb 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-16 18:49:47-05

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. — A mother says her family is torn apart after her 10 year-old son with special needs was Baker Acted at his elementary school.

Law enforcement says the 10-year-old was biting and trying to hurt himself and others. But his mother says "Baker Acting" her child was the wrong thing to do. 

Sandy and Rick say their 10-year-old son was diagnosed with nonverbal autism at the age of two.

Last month the boy became very upset at school and was Baker Acted. 

"I’ve never heard of them Baker Acting an autistic child," said Sandy, the boy's mother. 

Sandy is a nurse and was with a patient when she got a call about her son. 

"I said you don’t have to do this, give me 10 minutes, as soon as I walk in that door he’s going to stop. And he said too late, its already been done." 

Sandy met officers at Springbrook Hospital where Baker Acted people in Hernando County are taken.

"I see them carry my handcuffed child into a facility that wouldn’t allow me to see him. I was threatened with arrest and my husband was threatened with arrest," said Sandy.

We reached out to the Hernando County School District who said law enforcement makes the decision of whether a Baker Act is necessary.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office told us the child was acting out violently. They said to avoid injury to himself and others the deputy used restraints and chose to Baker Act the child. 

"You need to calm a child down who is autistic, you don’t put them in a room with 8 adults where he feels threatened," said attorney Jeff Schwartz.  

Sandy has not let her son return to the school since because she says she’s concerned for his safety.

"When they take your child and put him in a facility he doesn't belong and you’re forced to sign paper work so you can see him again. It kills a little bit of your soul, I know it has mine," said Sandy.   

The boy’s parents say since their son is nonverbal and can’t tell them what happened they are asking to see security video of the incident and have yet to see the full video.

They are also looking at more than $3,000 in medical expenses that their insurance won't cover.