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Florida’s Flawed Baker Act Rips Thousands of Kids from School

Over the past seven years, children have been taken from public schools in Tampa Bay more than 7,500 times and temporarily placed in mental health facilities. They often leave campus handcuffed in the back of police cruisers. Some are as…
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She Didn’t Know Her Autistic Son Could Be Tasered at School

Two years ago, at the start of the school year, Rosie Phillips got a call from her son’s school, asking her to come pick him up. When she arrived, she found him slumped on the hallway floor, sitting in a puddle of his own urine, with a Taser…
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Parents Say 10-Year-Old Son with Autism was Handcuffed, Put in Patrol Car

Parents of a 10-year-old boy who has autism say the child was handcuffed, put in the back of a patrol car and transported to a mental health facility after he ran from school administrators. According to a federal lawsuit…
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Florida Man Sues After School Resource Officer Taunts Autistic Son

Evan Dowdey was 13 years old and had the cognitive ability of a first-grade student when he threw a book at a teacher in 2017. School resource officer Ural Darling reportedly told Evan that he would be confined to a mental…
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Desperation and Broken Trust When Schools Restrain Students or Lock Them in Rooms

Every time Jennifer Tidd's son was secluded or restrained at school, she received a letter from his teachers. Her son has autism and behavioral issues, and over three years — from 2013 to 2016 — Tidd got 437 of those letters. "I see…
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Representing People with Mental Disabilities: A Practical Webinar for Criminal Defense Lawyers

For criminal defense lawyers of all types, clients with mental disabilities are a part of their practice. This includes the white collar criminal defense lawyer who represents an executive charged with tax evasion who functions despite a variety…
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Handcuffs and a Psych Exam for a 7-Year-Old? Schools Do That Too Often, Parents Say - The Miami Herald

Some parents have expressed concern that Florida schools are using the Baker Act too frequently. Many children who are Baker Acted do not meet the criteria for involuntary psychological evaluation. Read more.
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Suspensions Are Not Support: The Disciplining of Preschoolers With Disabilities - Center for American Progress

A new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) has found that children with disabilities are more likely to be suspended or expelled from preschool. CAP outlines its findings as follows: Children with behavioral problems are 43…
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'Social Camouflage' May Lead to Underdiagnosis of Autism in Girls - NPR

Although significantly more boys than girls are diagnosed with autism each year, some researchers say that the gender gap may not be as wide as it seems. Girls, they say, are better at blending in with social groups. Read more.
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July 24-25 Training Seminar: Nitty Gritty Mitigation Sentencing Strategies

There will be a two-day capital/JLWOP seminar on July 24th and July 25 at the Orange County Regional History Center, 65 East Central Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32801, for the low cost of $75.00! The seminar is for lawyers and mitigation specialists!…
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Mom Films Cops Arresting 10-Year-Old Son with Autism at School - The Huffington Post

Last week, a 10-year-old boy with autism was arrested on a warrant at his school in Okeechobee. The boy had allegedly attacked a school employee in November of 2016 and was suspended and then homebound. The boy and his family were not informed…
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Free Monthly Autism Screening Available for Children Up to 5 - Florida Weekly

Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is offering free monthly autism screening for children aged 18 months to 5 years old. The next screening will be available on the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile will be April 21 from 9 AM until…