Sunday, February 13, 2011

Boy Sent to Psych Ward Against Parent’s Will

This weekend I saw this news report about a 6 year old boy who was sent to a psych ward for a 72 hour hold because of a disturbing drawing he made and writing that he wanted to die while at a Los Angeles school. According to KSEE 24 News, the school had him evaluated and sent strapped into an ambulance to a psych ward where he was held for 48 hours against his will. The mother explained to the school that he had separation anxiety issues and that his father was being deployed to Iraq and that’s why he was upset and wanted to be home. She told them that she already had a therapist for him and would have him seen that day. But the power was taken out of her hands. (KSEE News, 2011)

My son has made these same threats, even wrote down on paper that he didn’t want to live anymore, but the situation was handled and it never required him being taken away from his family. Now I do think there are times this is absolutely necessary, but that decision should be left up to the parents and the therapist treating the child, not the school.

I know this is complicated because the school has a responsibility, but when a parent wants to take their child to his own therapist instead of being taken away from his family strapped down against his will, the school should’ve given the power to the parent.

I can understand the school requesting that the parent show proof of treatment before letting him attend class in the future, but to take a child that already has separation anxiety issues from his family seems to have caused more damage in the end.

Now the child won’t return back to school because he’s afraid they’ll take him back to a psych ward. I don’t blame him, I wouldn’t want to go back either!

* * *

See the story here:

KSEE 24 News
Boy Sent to Psych Ward Against Parents Will
By KSEE News
February 10, 2011
Consulted: February 13, 2011


  1. I can relate to this. Last September we put our son on a 72 for wielding knives and threatening himself and others. I called the school to tell them why he was being held and that he would be back on Thursday. Well, they called Wednesday and said not to bring him back until the following Monday. I knew something was fishy.

    Long story short, they called the police to report the incident. It had already been handled and we activated our safety plan right away. The officer was ugly, rude and treated my son like a piece of meat. Now, at 8 years old he is scared to death of the police. If there's an officer anywhere near our house he freaks out. And they called Child Welfare too. So now he's afraid he's going to be taken from us. The case is closed but this was so unfair to our whole family.

    Thankfully, his treatment team is on our side and they called the school to straighten it out right away and to tell them they over-stepped their boundaries.

    Why do schools think they have power? Our son has threatened suicide and bodily harm more than once. It breaks our hearts but we also know and have been trained on how to deal with it.

  2. Shari-Thank you for sharing your story, how awful! So did the knife event take place at home and you were just informing the school why he was out? If that is so, wow!! I had no idea that they could take such extreme action for things that are being handled at home and with his doctors. It makes you think twice about sharing any information with the school.

  3. Gah! Blogger ate my comment!

    It went something like this: stammer stammer stammer holy crap how can they do such a thing?

    Because I really can't believe that they could do such a thing. To completely remove a competent parent from the decision making process is unspeakable.

  4. WOW! This is ridiculous imho, because how does the school have that right? I mean seriously? They do not know every aspect of this child's life, they do not know what goes on at home or if the child has been evaluated by a therapist. My son has also made comments about wanting to die, my son has also told another child at school he would kill him, luckily for me, the teacher and i were having a confrence that night to discuss his progress in school and the possibility of holding him back so she waited and just talked to me, however she did mention that the next time she would have to alert the principal and have him involved, including possible suspension, what she did not tell me at that time was that the same child my son told that to, told my son he was going to shoot him in the head, which is why my son responded with what he did. Anyways, now that im kind of off topic, sorry, i just think its a little bit sad the school can do this without prior contact with the parents and a discussion of what should be done, im sure a agreement could have been made by all, even including the treating therapist or pdoc.

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  6. Public schools have a lot of power. Had the child been older the child would have been arrested and the parents have no say in that either. You can't imagine how many special needs kids are arrested at school. It is heartbreaking.

  7. I could not have been more disgusted with American schools when I saw this story. I would guess that less than 1% of kids who say this sort of thing need that kind of supervision. I have no doubt that this has done far more damage than good. It was reactive and did not take into account anything anyone knew about the child. In my counselling program, they always taught us that before you do ANYTHING, you gather information. Seems like they have a blanket policy that is far too strict.