Omni Middle School Child Allegedly Handcuffed, Taken To Psych Ward Only To Be Released Minutes Later By Shocked Medical Professionals.
Was Fighting Back Against Bullies.
BY: ANDREW COLTON | EDITOR AND PUBLISHER
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — An 11 year old student with Autism was handcuffed and “Baker Acted” by a school police officer after the child attempted to fight back while being bullied at Omni Middle School.
It is the second report of children with special needs being bullied at Omni in just the past few weeks. Just days ago, we reported how another child was seriously injured when he was assaulted — on camera — and later suspended for several days. That child also had a 504 — or special needs plan.
The child in the latest incident, who we will identify only as Erik, was transported in handcuffs to JFK Medical Center in West Palm Beach — according to his guardian — where medical staffers told his guardian that the confinement was “absurd” and that Erik was not a problem. He was released a short time later.
The Palm Beach County School District, in a statement to BocaNewsNow.com, said: “Because of student privacy regulations, the District is not at liberty to speak specifically to media questions regarding specific cases involving children.”
BocaNewsNow.com has reviewed reports confirming the claim of his guardian — Larissa Leander. Leander, who runs The Learning Tree Preschool in Boca Raton, serves as guardian for the child. The boy’s mother, an immigrant from Cuba, speaks little English and has asked Leander to be the conduit for Erik’s care in the United States. Leander employs the boy’s mother and has served as his legal guardian for years.
“The mom has an accent and they bulldoze her,” she said.
The incident occurred Wednesday, when Erik, described as being “on the Autism spectrum, living with ADHD and is language delayed,” ran out of a class at Omni Middle. School officials apparently told Ms. Leander that Erik was “overstimulated,” but Erik said he was being bullied and hit in the class and no one did anything about it. When Leander arrived and spoke with administrators, the school’s new police officer allegedly attempted to intervene.
“The officer walks over and introduces himself,” said Leander. “He is very dismissive of me. I tried to tell him what’s going on, but all he would say is that I should be happy that he’s even speaking with me. He told me Erik is one student and that he’s responsible for the whole school.”
Within minutes, Erik apparently is brought to Leander and hides behind her. “When we told Erik that he was now safe, he could only say, ‘that’s them, that’s them, that’s them’ as students walked by.”
The officer and administrators, according to Leander, did nothing.
The following day — Thursday, February 20th, 2020 — Erik was back in school. But late in the day, Leander was advised that Erik was in a fight. The school police officer, according to school officials, had “Baker Acted” Erik and was transporting him to JFK Medical Center. Leander says Erik was defending himself from bullying.
The officer, whose name we are temporarily withholding to afford School Police “brass” a time to respond — took Erik in handcuffs to JFK Medical Center in West Palm Beach, according to Leander. Omni Middle School — in Boca Raton — is roughly equidistant to West Boca Medical Center and Delray Medical Center — just a few miles away.
It is nowhere near JFK Medical Center at 2201 45th Street in West Palm Beach.
Leander kept Erik out of school on Friday. She received this email from Omni Middle School Principal Nikkia Deluz.
It’s unclear what happens now. He was apparently offered a spot at Boca Raton Middle School. A school district administrator, apparently told Leander “it has better resources for children with Autism.”
That spot, according to Leander, was then rescinded.
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