Florida lawmakers reviewing Baker Act

Florida State Capitol. Photo courtesy: Google

Florida Senate Bill 590 addresses the involuntary examinations of minors. Last heard on Jan. 21, the bill emphasizes the consent of the parent or guardian in order for any form of examinations to conducted on a minor.

Medical and psychological examinations of minors are usually for behavioral concerns. Methods such as theBaker Act can be applied to this.

The Baker Act allows pediatric professionals, mental health officials, judges and law enforcement to decided if a person should be committed to a mental health center for up to 72 hours.

Albert Hayes, a recent college graduate who was subjected to the Baker Act, says that the government should not be implementing this much control on the lives of people.

“I believe that this shouldn’t be the government’s decision for parents and guardians,” Hayes said. “I believe that this would invade the parents’ right to rightfully protect their child in most cases. I do not believe this to be the greatest amount of good for the majority of people.”

This subject is weighed differently in various households, although its purpose is to benefit both the parent and the child.

Rashad Jones, a police officer and father, also had some opinions regarding SB 590.

“I personally believe this bill is doing a civil service to the protection of my child,” he staid. “I do not think that any official should have that much power that could ultimately result in the involuntary examination of my daughter. Parents and guardians should be contacted immediately if there is an instance where the behavioral or mental state of my child is within reasonable concern. The matter should not be taken in the officials hands.”

This bill is filled with numerous legal issues that concern its methods of operation, but its overall purpose is to provide a safer system for both the parents and the children.

Katina Ebron, who serves as an RN at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Coral Terrace and a mother of three. “It’s hard to believe that some parents would even allow involuntary examinations to be conducted with their child,” she said. “There is a fair amount of holes within the logic of reasoning in this bill.”

Ebron believes that if there were to be any examinations of her child without her being notified, the issue could be the result of miscommunication. She believes that, “A parent knows their child’s behavior better than anyone else, No teacher, officer, or doctor should hold the fate of my child’s life in their hands.”