Are schools going too far or are modern students in need of discipline?
On Saturday, the Miami School District announced a new policy for handling aggressive students in response to a controversial video from last month that showed a seven-year-old boy handcuffed by police for hitting a teacher.
The first grader at Miami’s Coral Way K-8 Center was escorted by police to an involuntary psychiatric exam after he hit and kicked a teacher during a lunchtime temper tantrum, the Miami Herald reported.
The boy’s removal from school to the psychiatric office was in line with Florida’s Baker Act, which instructs police to take persons who appear mentally ill and who pose a risk to others in for a psychiatric exam.
According to the new policy laid out in a memo from Superintendent Alberto Carvalho to the school board, school officials must now exhaust all options in handling a behaviorally-challenged child before calling for police intervention.
Schools must also now get the approval of a lieutenant of higher-ranking before transporting a child to a psychiatric facility.
The new policy allows students to be transported handcuff-free in a private medical transport or a school police car accompanied by a staff member.
Handcuffs may still be used if the child aggressively resists the police officer.
According to a State-organized task force, the number of children subjected to involuntary psychiatric exams under the Baker Act went up by 50 percent between 2010 and 2016, with 32,000 between 2015 and 2016 alone.
This has sparked concern from some parents, who argue the law unfairly punishes students with disabilities like autism.
Is the new policy an example of fair reform or snowflake overreaction?