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Gradebook podcast: Why are Florida schools using the Baker Act more often?

Never intended to be used on children, the 1970s law in increasingly applied in schools.
Cocoa Police Department video shows A.J. Plonsky being taken to a mental health facility under the Florida Baker Act on his first day of middle school, August 10, 2018.
Cocoa Police Department video shows A.J. Plonsky being taken to a mental health facility under the Florida Baker Act on his first day of middle school, August 10, 2018. [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ]
Published Jan. 16, 2020

Florida’s Baker Act wasn’t intended to apply to school children when created in the 1970s. Lawmakers wanted to make it easier to help adults with mental health concerns get treatment closer to home.

Over the years, though, schools have turned to the measure as justification to take into custody for evaluation children deemed a threat to themselves or others. And the numbers have grown, although oversight has not.

Reporters Megan Reeves and Jack Evans have been investigating the situation. They talk about the issues with reporter Jeff Solochek, including what corrections might be forthcoming in the 2020 Florida legislative session.

Related: Florida’s flawed Baker Act rips thousands of kids from school