The number of Miami-Dade students taken by school police from campus for an involuntary psychiatric exam has almost exactly doubled in the past five years, according to the district’s records.
At least 646 times this year — that’s an average of more than thee times every school day — Miami-Dade school police have handcuffed a student, put him or her in the back of a patrol car and driven to a mental health facility under the rules in Florida’s mental health law, the Baker Act.
The rise has come at a time when school crime statistics and juvenile arrests are down markedly.
Critics, including some inside the district, say the schools may be overusing the Baker Act, which allows individuals to be held for evaluation up to 72 hours. Some critics say it might be a deliberate effort to tamp down campus crime statistics.