Pinellas School Board receives stats on kids committed under the state's Baker Act
What happens to some of the Pinellas district's most vulnerable students - those who pose such a danger to themselves or others that they must be involuntarily committed under Florida's Baker Act?
Pinellas School Board members received the following statistics this week during Day 2 of their annual retreat:
District-based licensed clincial social workers completed 228 mental health assessments during the 2007-08 school year. Of those assessed, 103 students were sent to either Morton Plant Hospital or PEMHS (Personal Enrichment Through Mental Health Services) and were "Baker Acted."
The majority of the assessments - 115 - were completed on elementary students. One reason for the high rate of Baker Act assessments at elementary schools is that law enforcement is more likely to respond to out-of-control situations at middle and high schools. Of the 115 elementary students assessed, 40 of them were committed under the Baker Act.
Eleven schools, including five elementaries, had five or more Baker Act assessments.
In addition to the 103 students who were involuntarily committed by the district last year, about 400 more were committed before or after school hours by law enforcement agencies.
- Donna Winchester, Pinellas Education Reporter