Nov 5, 2018, Click Orlando.com: Orlando-area schools see increase in Baker Acts on students after Parkland shooting https://www.clickorlando.com/news/orlando-area-schools-see-increase-in-baker-acts-on-students-after-parkland-shooting Earlier this year, 11-year-old Alondra Centeno, who has autism, was taken out of school and forced to undergo a mental health evaluation. Because it was done under Florida's Baker Act, it was done without her or her parent's consent. "Being separated from my mom really scared me," Centeno said. "I had two nights where I just cried myself to sleep." Centeno's mother, Windy Castro, also called the situation devastating. The incident happened a week after the Parkland shooting. Centeno said she told a substitute teacher at her elementary school that she had suicidal thoughts, but Castro said that by the time she got the call from the school, her daughter was already being taken away by law enforcement. … Centeno was taken to the University Behavior Center in Orlando, where she was held for three days. "They did not let me get close to her at all," Castro said…. Officials said Centeno's situation isn't unheard of. It's happening more and more in several Central Florida Schools, especially since the deadly Parkland shooting… "All of our schools now have a mental health designee on campus who's been trained on how to react to students who do present a threat or state they may harm themselves," said Mary Bridges, the senior director of student services at Orange County Public Schools. "And we're training administrators and those mental health designees to work with law enforcement to make sure our students are safe." … "What we are seeing is an increase in students who really are having anxiety and stress more than we've seen in the past," Bridges said. … Demps said because of Parkland and the new Public Safety Act, more attention is being placed on early intervention. She said with all the things kids see on air and online, they are facing more stressors than ever before, which can and do affect their mental health. She agrees communication with parents is key. "Sometimes, kids are Baker Acted on the autism spectrum, and it may be that they are depressed or have a mental health crisis at that time, so that's a fine line to work with," Demps said. "The parents have to be involved." According to the Baker Act Reporting Center's annual report released in June, there were a total of 199,944 involuntary examinations done in the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The report also shows that the number of involuntary examinations has more than doubled in 16 years -- not just on the whole, but for children ages 5 to 17. … "At the end of the day, I don't think we are overusing it at all," Demps said. "It is making sure we are erring on the side of caution and that everyone stays safe." But Diane Stein, who heads the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, said both law enforcement and school personnel need more training and reporting requirements need to be improved. …
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Children today are noticeably different from previous generations, and the proof is in the news coverage we see every day. This site shows you what’s happening in schools around the world. Children are increasingly disabled and chronically ill, and the education system has to accommodate them. Things we've long associated with autism, like sensory issues, repetitive behaviors, anxiety and lack of social skills, are now problems affecting mainstream students. Blame is predictably placed on bad parenting (otherwise known as trauma from home).
Addressing mental health needs is as important as academics for modern educators. This is an unrecognized disaster. The stories here are about children who can’t learn or behave like children have always been expected to. What childhood has become is a chilling portent for the future of mankind.
Anne Dachel, Media editor, Age of Autism
(John Dachel, Tech. assist.)
What will happen in another 4 years? How can we go on like this? This is a national (and international) problem of monumental proportions. We have an entire new class of children who cannot be accommodated by the system: many are manifestly neurologically impaired. Meanwhile, the government and the medical profession sleep on regardless.
UK media editor, Age of Autism
The generation of American children born after 1990 are arguably the sickest generation in the history of our country.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
It seemed to me that with rising autism prevalence, you’d also see rising autism costs to society, and it turns out, the costs are catastrophic.
They calculated that in 2015 autism cost the United States $268 billion and they projected that if autism continues at its current rate, we’re looking at one trillion dollars a year in autism costs by 2025, so within five years.
Toby Rogers, PhD, Political economist
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