‘He doesn’t have special needs, he just has anger issues’: Parents are furious at schools sending their bullied kids to ERs for psych evaluations

On Fortune.com is this investigative story by Annie Ma and Meredith Kologner, a collaboration between the Associated Press and the Hechinger Report, detailing the handcuffed removal of students (often Black or kids with disabilities) for behaviors caused by frustration, bullying, or their needs not being met by the school:

“Three times a week, on average, a police car pulls up to a school in Wicomico County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. A student is brought out, handcuffed and placed inside for transport to a hospital emergency room for a psychiatric evaluation.

Over the past eight years, the process has been used at least 750 times on students. Some are as young as 5 years old.

The state law that allows for these removals, known as petitions for emergency evaluation, is meant to be limited to people with severe mental illness, who are endangering their own lives or safety or someone else’s. It’s the first step toward getting someone involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital.

But advocates say schools across the country are sending children to the emergency room for psychiatric evaluations in response to behaviors prompted by bullying or frustration over assignments. The ER trips, they say, often follow months, and sometimes years, of their needs not being met.

Black students are more frequently subjected to these removals than their peers, according to available data. Advocates point to students with disabilities also being removed at higher rates.”

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