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  1. #1
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    LAUSD commit 6 year child against mother's wishes

    Syndi Dorman has faced a lot, raising two kids while her Army husband spent time overseas. But what happened a few days ago was right up there with her worst nightmare.

    "I said, 'Can you do this?' and they're like, 'Yeah,'" said the stunned San Pedro mother. "I'm just like, 'What? Can I get a lawyer? How is this happening?'"

    Dorman said what happened to her son could happen to any school-age child and that's why she's speaking out. On Monday, her 6-year-old son Jack was committed to a psychiatric ward against her wishes after he drew a violent drawing at school and wrote that he wanted to die.

    "They said they were concerned about a picture he drew. I said he plays video games and it's a picture from a video game."

    Dorman said her son suffers from separation anxiety and has seen a therapist in the past. On the day he drew the disturbing picture, he was upset that he couldn't stay home with his family.

    "I explained to them what was happening, that my husband was being deployed to Iraq, that he was upset when he came to school today, that he wanted to be home."

    School officials at Taper Avenue Elementary in San Pedro were so concerned, they called a Los Angeles County psychiatric mobile response team, which determined Jack needed to be committed to a 72-hour psychiatric hold at a local hospital.

    "I'm saying, 'I will deal with it, that we have a therapist, we'll make sure he's seen today.' "They said it was out of my hands. They said they were in control and they could do this and had already called an ambulance."

    Dorman said the ambulance ride was traumatizing for her son.

    "I was trying to reassure him it would be OK and he asked if I'd come back for him, and I said of course I'm going to come back for you."

    Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines released a statement, saying in part, "When any student indicates a desire to take his or her own life, the LAUSD is required to follow strict protocols to ensure the safety of the student ... The safety of LAUSD students is paramount. We did the right thing here."

    Jack was released after 48 hours, but his mother says the experience will have lasting effects.

    "My son doesn't want to go back to school. He's afraid they're going to take him away again."


    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41515649...mental_health/

    Once again the LAUSD proves it's a complete failure. The child is already under a therapist care for SEPARATION ANXIETY. So what does school district do, tear the kid way from his family. Like that wouldn't traumatize the kid even more.

  2. #2
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    Yet one more reason to shut down public schools and open up private with vouchers for low income. We'd save a bundle, we could hire teachers that actually cared. The teachers could enforce discipline like they used to do in Texas when I was in school(lots of paddles hanging on the wall).

    And most importantly they can get rid of all these therapists we're wasting tax dollars on.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jett

    Once again the LAUSD proves it's a complete failure. The child is already under a therapist care for SEPARATION ANXIETY. So what does school district do, tear the kid way from his family. Like that wouldn't traumatize the kid even more.

    Suicidal ideation is not a symptom of separation anxiety (a term used for a normal stage in child development, btw). Separation anxiety is typically not seen in children over 2, when the symptoms are present past that age it might indicate a more serious anxiety disorder. So perhaps there was a misdiagnosis?

    The mother says the picture was from a video game. Do you know any video games that involve killing one's self? Killing others sure, but one's self? I don't know how that makes sense. Perhaps the mother is in denial?

    Finally, the school did not commit him. Your post shows the school called the Los Angeles County psychiatric mobile response team, and it was those MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS who committed the kid to a 72-hour psychiatric hold at a local hospital. Clearly they thought there was potentially something there more serious than just separation anxiety.

    Unless you are a mental health professional, and know their reasoning for treating this case as they did, I think it is a bit early to claim this was the wrong way, or right way, to handle this situation.
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  4. #4
    Ricardo Cabeza
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod
    I think it is a bit early to claim this was the wrong way, or right way, to handle this situation.
    No it isn't.

    This was 100% wrong.

    The mother is already intimately involved in the details of her son's troubles. She and her doctor(s) are much much more qualified than some draconian "response" team to know what's going on. Odds are they did way more damage than good with their kidnapping, and the kid and his family would have been much better off in the long run and the short run if the state stays the hell out.

    One can only hope this turns out badly for LA county and it ends up costing them millions.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy69
    No it isn't.

    This was 100% wrong.

    The mother is already intimately involved in the details of her son's troubles. She and her doctor(s) are much much more qualified than some draconian "response" team to know what's going on.

    Not all therapists are doctors. Do you know the qualification of the therapist she claims to have on the case?

    And as I said, suicidal ideation is not a symptom of separation anxiety, so there could have been a misdiagnosis. That would make me ask serious questions of the competence of the therapist in question.

    There are questions about this that give me pause, and before I get to 90+% certainty I want to see more information on this particular case.

    As a general public policy, suicide threats should be taken very seriously, even when made by the young. And there are very good reasons not to take the word of a parent when a child starts talking about wanting to kill themselves. Any idea why that might be?

    It's because suicidal thoughts by kids are often associated with being abused at home. And abusers lie.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod
    Suicidal ideation is not a symptom of separation anxiety (a term used for a normal stage in child development, btw). Separation anxiety is typically not seen in children over 2, when the symptoms are present past that age it might indicate a more serious anxiety disorder. So perhaps there was a misdiagnosis?

    The mother says the picture was from a video game. Do you know any video games that involve killing one's self? Killing others sure, but one's self? I don't know how that makes sense. Perhaps the mother is in denial?

    Finally, the school did not commit him. Your post shows the school called the Los Angeles County psychiatric mobile response team, and it was those MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS who committed the kid to a 72-hour psychiatric hold at a local hospital. Clearly they thought there was potentially something there more serious than just separation anxiety.

    Unless you are a mental health professional, and know their reasoning for treating this case as they did, I think it is a bit early to claim this was the wrong way, or right way, to handle this situation.
    Article said it was a violent drawing, not that the drawing depicted suicide.

  7. #7
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    If the teacher would have been carrying, she could have taken out that insane kid, on the spot and saved the state a huge expense. Sometimes, in order to protect the herd, you have to cull the deviant part of the herd.
    Our country can't afford the huge expenses of hospitalization anymore.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snakebit
    Article said it was a violent drawing, not that the drawing depicted suicide.
    Partially.

    As to what the article said that is RELEVANT.... from the OP:

    Dorman said what happened to her son could happen to any school-age child and that's why she's speaking out. On Monday, her 6-year-old son Jack was committed to a psychiatric ward against her wishes after he drew a violent drawing at school and wrote that he wanted to die.

    ...

    Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines released a statement, saying in part, "When any student indicates a desire to take his or her own life, the LAUSD is required to follow strict protocols to ensure the safety of the student ... The safety of LAUSD students is paramount. We did the right thing here."
    .
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  9. #9
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    How many kids HAVEN'T uttered or written an overly-dramatic "I want to die!" when things overwhelm them or they don't get their way?

    Ripping the kid out of school, especially considering his circumstances, was completely wrong.
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  10. #10
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    One of my younger coworkers told me when she was in college her psychology professor asked the class how many people have had thoughts of suicide.

    The entire class raised there hands except for her.

    There's nothing pathological about this. I do think the parent is responsible in this case, I'd dump the video games, television and anything else I think is trying to put these thoughts in a kids head at such a young age.

    The teachers, administrators, and staff are being taught to recognize the slightest deviation from norm as a problem that requires diagnosis and drugs.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod
    Partially.

    As to what the article said that is RELEVANT.... from the OP:

    Dorman said what happened to her son could happen to any school-age child and that's why she's speaking out. On Monday, her 6-year-old son Jack was committed to a psychiatric ward against her wishes after he drew a violent drawing at school and wrote that he wanted to die.

    ...

    Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines released a statement, saying in part, "When any student indicates a desire to take his or her own life, the LAUSD is required to follow strict protocols to ensure the safety of the student ... The safety of LAUSD students is paramount. We did the right thing here."
    For the record, I'm leaning your way. Something sounds unright here.

  12. #12
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    Here’s a thought,

    Take the violent video games away from the 6 year old.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlatyPius
    How many kids HAVEN'T uttered or written an overly-dramatic "I want to die!" when things overwhelm them or they don't get their way?

    There can be a big difference between that and "I want to kill myself". Which version the kid said, and in what context, matters a lot. And we don't know which was said, or to who, or what had been said before or after.

    Kind of makes debate on the matter of phrasing from the kid one of speculation, no?
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  14. #14
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    I'd also consider getting the kid involved in some after school sports to let the little guy get this negative energy out of his system.

    Too many of the kids are sitting around these days. I can imagine nothing more depressing for a kid to have to sit around playing video games instead getting a chance to run around playing with his peers having fun.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by walter2007
    Take the violent video games away from the 6 year old.
    Yeah, damn, whatever happened to Super Mario World?

  16. #16
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    I can understand the concern of the LAUSD, but the mother should have been given the option to take her son out of school and personally take him to a family doctor.

    Not that I’m a lawyer but I see lawsuit material here.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod
    There are questions about this that give me pause, and before I get to 90+% certainty I want to see more information on this particular case.

    As a general public policy, suicide threats should be taken very seriously, even when made by the young. And there are very good reasons not to take the word of a parent when a child starts talking about wanting to kill themselves. Any idea why that might be?
    One more thing, implicit in what you write, but let's make it explicit:

    Consider the cost of guessing wrong by the district's experts vs. the mother and her experts: In one instance, the kid has an unnecessary 72-hour hospitalization. In the other, the kid is dead. When experts are unsure but judge that there's good reason to believe the threat might be (not definitely is, but might reasonably be) serious, you take action.

    FWIW, the rate of suicide in children under 15 in the US is more than twice as high as the average for other high-income countries. On average, over 75 children between 5 and 12 years old commit suicide each year in the US (average for 1999-2003, based on raw data from CDC), and according to the American Psychological Association, "Many parents and teachers ignore warning signs, such as talking about or threatening suicide, because they think kids don’t understand suicide and wouldn’t attempt it. 'There’s a high potential for adults to dismiss the possibility due to the perceived incongruity between children and suicide.' "
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredke
    One more thing, implicit in what you write, but let's make it explicit:

    Consider the cost of guessing wrong by the district's experts vs. the mother and her experts: In one instance, the kid has an unnecessary 72-hour hospitalization. In the other, the kid is dead. When experts are unsure but judge that there's good reason to believe the threat might be (not definitely is, but might reasonably be) serious, you take action.

    FWIW, the rate of suicide in children under 15 in the US is more than twice as high as the average for other high-income countries. On average, over 75 children between 5 and 12 years old commit suicide each year in the US (average for 1999-2003, based on raw data from CDC), and according to the American Psychological Association, "Many parents and teachers ignore warning signs, such as talking about or threatening suicide, because they think kids don’t understand suicide and wouldn’t attempt it. 'There’s a high potential for adults to dismiss the possibility due to the perceived incongruity between children and suicide.' "
    I think the greater concern here is WHY the kid is depressed. Abuse may be involved in which case separation from the mother would be an important first step to helping. This is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation but we don't want one of those situations where we hear "you'd think somebody would have seen some signs." They did and they acted, we can all hope they were very wrong to do so.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snakebit
    I think the greater concern here is WHY the kid is depressed. Abuse may be involved in which case separation from the mother would be an important first step to helping. This is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation but we don't want one of those situations where we hear "you'd think somebody would have seen some signs." They did and they acted, we can all hope they were very wrong to do so.

    That’s a good point.

    I think an immediate mandatory evaluation of the boy was in order, but as I mentioned earlier the mother should have been given the first option to seek treatment for her son. Not some further traumatizing ambulance ride ordered by the State.

  20. #20
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    Mrs. saf-t is a therapist who's worked with kids, so I ran this past her.

    She said that for an involuntary commitment, the person has to acknowledge wanting to hurt him/herself or others, and if this kid did so, it's an extremely serious issue. She also says there's no way that a kid with separation anxiety would respond in that way, and there's clearly something else going on.

    She found it incredible that a parent wouldn't want to figure out why a kid would say something like this, and believes that there's much more to thts story than what's on the surface.....
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by saf-t
    ...and believes that there's much more to thts story than what's on the surface.....
    There usually is. I have substantial experience dealing with kids with psychiatric problems and there may be a lot going on beneath the surface. It is impossible to draw any conclusions from the information presented here. With cases of this sort, only one side gets heard due to confidentiality issues.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by heathb
    One of my younger coworkers told me when she was in college her psychology professor asked the class how many people have had thoughts of suicide.

    The entire class raised there hands except for her.

    There's nothing pathological about this. I do think the parent is responsible in this case, I'd dump the video games, television and anything else I think is trying to put these thoughts in a kids head at such a young age.

    The teachers, administrators, and staff are being taught to recognize the slightest deviation from norm as a problem that requires diagnosis and drugs.
    Don't you think the professor's question is much different compared to whether a six-year-old has openly spoken of suicide?

    That said, I think we can all agree with QuiQuaeQuod that context means a lot and none of us really have it.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod
    Suicidal ideation is not a symptom of separation anxiety (a term used for a normal stage in child development, btw). Separation anxiety is typically not seen in children over 2, when the symptoms are present past that age it might indicate a more serious anxiety disorder. So perhaps there was a misdiagnosis?

    The mother says the picture was from a video game. Do you know any video games that involve killing one's self? Killing others sure, but one's self? I don't know how that makes sense. Perhaps the mother is in denial?

    Finally, the school did not commit him. Your post shows the school called the Los Angeles County psychiatric mobile response team, and it was those MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS who committed the kid to a 72-hour psychiatric hold at a local hospital. Clearly they thought there was potentially something there more serious than just separation anxiety.

    Unless you are a mental health professional, and know their reasoning for treating this case as they did, I think it is a bit early to claim this was the wrong way, or right way, to handle this situation.
    Yeah, in one sentence she said the drawing was no big deal and from a video game, in the other she promised that she'd take her son to his shrink that day.

    Being committed to a 72-hour psychiatric hold seems tantamount to an extended suicide watch. I'd be plenty pissed if something was being done to my son outside of my control, but this just doesn't seem to pass muster as some sort of travesty and condemnation of public schooling.
    Last edited by DrRoebuck; 02-12-2011 at 08:19 PM.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by walter2007
    Not some further traumatizing ambulance ride ordered by the State.
    I'm curious why people keep referring to this ambulance ride as traumatizing ...
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRoebuck
    I'm curious why people keep referring to this ambulance ride as traumatizing ...

    "Dorman said the ambulance ride was traumatizing for her son."




    I can see where a 6 year old could be traumatized by an ambulance ride. Was the mother allowed to ride along?

    It also said he was released after 48 hours of a 72 hour hold. Can’t believe they would let the boy go early if it was such a serious case, or if there were signs of abuse at home.

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