6-Year-Old Boy Forced Into Psych Ward Over Drawing

Imagine that your 6-year-old son drew a picture at school that had him committed involuntarily to a psych ward. Sound impossible? Well, that scenario really just played out in San Pedro, California this week.

Syndi Dorman, who is alone with her two children while her husband is in Iraq, said her 6-year-old son Jack was sent to a psych ward after drawing a picture and writing that he wanted to die. Unusual? Yes. Disturbing, even. But what the school did next is baffling. They committed the boy. According to MSNBC, his mother said:

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.

School officials were so disturbed by the photo that they called the Los Angeles County psychiatric mobile response team, "which determined Jack needed to be committed to a 72-hour psychiatric hold at a local hospital."


The boy was transported in an ambulance and was terrified, his mother said. He was asking if she would come back for him and didn't want to go. And though he was released 48 hours later, his mother says he is afraid to go back to school.

Can you imagine? It's stressful enough to be dealing with a small child who has separation anxiety and fears about being away from home, plus a husband who is deployed, and now this? Obviously, a 6-year-old saying he wants to die is cause for concern. So call the parents into the school. Have a discussion. But commit the boy? Really?

Clearly, the schools have a duty to protect the boy, but I'm not sure that sending him away in an ambulance against the will of both the mother and the child is the wisest way to do that. I wouldn't blame the boy at all for not wanting to go back.

And now the poor mother has to find a way to get her son to go back into a situation he was already not that comfortable in. And all this while she is alone. It's just awful.

Do you think the boy should have been committed?


Image via kowaleski/Flickr

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