SAN ANTONIO — Shocking numbers after our investigation uncovers thousands of students who have been emergency detained while in school for a mental illness.
We uncover how districts are dealing with the growing number of children with mental illness. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 children deal with mental illness. We asked what school districts are doing to ensure the well being and safety of these children and other children?
7 year old Samuel, who struggles with autism and a mood disorder was placed in emergency detention for having an outburst while at school.
"They're treating him like a criminal and he is not, this is a 7 year old kid" said his mother, Maria Herrera Arias.
Samuel was handcuffed and taken out of his class, while kicking and screaming. Samuel is not alone, 322 children have been emergency detained in the past two years in that school district alone.
"Emergency Detention is basically in the presence of a police officer, a student or an adult or someone makes an out cry in front of the officer that they want to harm themselves or harm somebody else in that they can’t control these feelings that they’re having," said Wally McCampbell, NEISD Police Chief.
We requested the number of students taken by the police over the past 2 years for a mental illness from each school district in the San Antonio area.
Schools are now dealing with a different kind of task – policing mental illness. Once the child is in custody, authorities call Med-Com, a program that routes them to the proper mental health facility for the child in crisis.
"Once the child is allowed to come back, what happens?" Yami asked. "Well, the counselors are certainly involved, the school administration is involved and the campus officers are involved and so we wanna be there for that student" said Charlie Carnes, NISD Police Chief.
"Our goal just like anybody else is to make sure that that child is safe and is free of wanting to commit self-harm or harm to somebody else," said Wally McCampbell, NEISD Police Chief.
We also requested the number of children being emergency detained by SAPD. In 2017 SAPD officers detained 1,166 minors in 2017 and 1,312 kids in 2018.