officer Larry Mackey

QUESTIONS RAISED OVER OMNI MIDDLE SCHOOL COP’S HANDCUFFING OF AUSTIC CHILD

News Palm Beach County Schools

Officer Larry Mackey Handcuffed 11-Year-Old On Autism Spectrum, Transported To Psych Hospital Where Doctors Immediately Released The Child.

No Response From School District, School Police Brass On Mackey’s Actions, Status.

Guardian Claims Mackey Amended Police Report After BocaNewsNow.com Article.

Palm Beach County School Police Officer Larry Mackey, seen here in a photo taken while he worked for Florida Atlantic University. [PHOTO: FAU]

BY: ANDREW COLTON | EDITOR & PUBLISHER

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — The Palm Beach County School District is not responding to questions about the actions of Palm Beach County School Police officer Larry C. Mackey following his handcuffing and “Baker acting” of an 11 year old boy at Omni Middle School. The boy is on the Autism spectrum. Medical professionals called the confinement “absurd.” The boy was released minutes after arriving at JFK Medical Center North.

Mackey, a former FAU Police Officer, joined the Palm Beach County School District police for the current school year. He is assigned to Omni Middle School.

Omni Middle School student Erik, 11, was handcuffed and taken to JFK Medical Center as a “Baker Act” confinement. Erik is on the Autism spectrum. Medical professionals immediately discharged the boy. The Palm Beach County School District is not discussing the actions of its officer.

Larissa Leander, the guardian of the child who we are identifying with her permission as Erik, says Mackey singled out Erik as he was defending himself while being physically assaulted — and bullied — at Omni Middle School on Thursday. According to Leander, the “bullies” broke Erik’s water bottle and snatched his sweater. Erik was allegedly hit in a class a day earlier. Officer Mackey, according to several witnesses contacting BocaNewsNow.com, handcuffed Erik then transported him to JFK Medical Center North in West Palm Beach for Baker Act confinement. Medical professionals, however, immediately discharged Erik, saying he was no threat to anyone and should have never been brought to the hospital.

BocaNewsNow.com reviewed the discharge documents.

A day after the incident — and after BocaNewsNow.com exclusively reported on the handcuffing — Mackey allegedly added to his police report the claim that Erik stood in front a school bus and said “I want to die.” BocaNewsNow.com has been unable to corroborate the school bus claim with witnesses or school officials. No one apparently saw it. A school police supervisor allegedly called Leander on Friday night — a day after the incident — to tell her that it was now in the report.

Leander said it just didn’t happen.

“Erik wouldn’t understand the idea of ‘suicidal.’ He is really very immature and a very innocent, happy child,” said Leander who suggests Mackey is fabricating the report to justify his handcuffing of an 11 year old boy with Autism.

Leander, as we reported Friday, serves as Erik’s guardian at the request of his mother — a Cuban immigrant who was a physician in Cuba but speaks little English and felt she was being “run over” by the Palm Beach County School District. She now works at Learning Tree preschool in Boca, which Leander runs. Leander has served as Erik’s guardian for years.

BocaNewsNow.com historically — over nearly a decade — has leaned “pro police” when claims of impropriety are made. We research. We ask questions. We expect — and traditionally receive — a response. To that end, we withheld Officer Larry Mackey’s name while the district’s communication office — at our request — asked Police Chief Frank Kitzerow for a statement on Friday. None was received.

No response was received on Saturday.

BocaNewsNow.com emailed Chief Kitzerow directly on Sunday to ask about Officer Mackey’s actions and his status. Again, no response was received.

BocaNewsNow.com did, however, obtain what sources say is a non-public document from the Palm Beach County School District regarding the use of the “Baker Act.” The document, written in 2014, provides guidelines for confining students. The document suggests that Omni Middle School, and Officer Mackey, violated several school district policies. You can download the document — which includes a Baker Act Decision tree, here.

DOWNLOAD THIS COMPLETE DOCUMENT BELOW.

Notable from the document:

“If a student appears to be in crisis, move the student to a quiet, safe place while accompanied at all times by at least one adult and ensure school administration is notified…make every effort include the parent/guardian in all phases of the process.”

Neither of these directives, according to Leander and witnesses, were followed.

It is unclear where Omni Principal Nikkia Deluz was during the handcuffing. It is also unclear where she was when a boy was bullied and beaten — on camera — at Omni Middle School just weeks ago. That boy was also a child with special needs.

Leander — who runs a respected, licensed pre-school in Boca Raton — says Officer Mackey has scared Erik to the point that he fears cops.

“I don’t ever want Erik stepping one foot in Omni ever again,” she said. “He’s terrified of Omni and now he’s also scared of police.”

We will update if the Palm Beach County School District Police department issues a statement.

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