The parents of a 7-year-old boy acknowledge their son acted badly when he hit a teacher last week at Miami's Coral Way K-8 Center. But his mom says her "heart is broken" after the boy was taken away in handcuffs, then hospitalized for a mental evaluation against his parents' wishes. The Miami Herald reports the boy was removed from the school cafeteria Thursday for playing with his food, and in the hallway "attacked the teacher by repeatedly punching her on her back" and kept kicking, punching, and grabbing hair even after being restrained, per a police report cited by WSVN. The boys' parents, Mercy Alvarez and Rolando Fuentes, were called to the school, and agreed to a 10-day suspension. But they were told their son needed to go for a psychiatric evaluation under the Florida Mental Health Act, or Baker Act, which permits the detention of someone who may be a danger to themselves or to others.
"I said, 'What? Seven years old? A danger to society?,'" Fuentes says. A statement from the Miami-Dade Schools Police said the boy's detention and evaluation were "warranted to prevent his erratic and violent behavior from bringing further harm to others or himself." His family, however, says that he doesn't have any mental issues (they think he's been acting up in school because he's being bullied) and that being carted off in handcuffs was unnecessary and "police abuse." "They have created a psychological trauma, and instead of fixing the problem, you are building a problem," says Alvarez, who says the same cop who dealt with him this time dealt with him in November, when he was suspended for 10 days for a similar "tantrum." The teacher the boy hit wants to press charges, while the parents are considering legal action, per the Herald. (Read more Miami stories.)