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How many children does NYPD send to the psychiatric ward?

Remember that Daily News story last January about the kindergartner who threw a tantrum at school and then ended up getting sent to a psychiatric ward? Well, the New York Civil Liberties Union believes that there are more cases like it, and it is now filing a lawsuit against the NYPD, which manages school cops, to find out exactly how many more cases there are.

Here’s one piece of information included in the lawsuit (PDF) that is one of the NYCLU’s reasons for being suspicious:

Upon information and belief as many as 25 of the 76 child adolescent visits in January 2008 to a Staten Island Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program were referred by schools.

NYCLU requested records that would list all times that city school students were sent by the NYPD to psychiatric hospitals. The NYPD — big shocker here for anyone who’s ever tried to use the Freedom of Information Act to squeeze documents relating to public school students — refused to give the records. The lawsuit is a challenge demanding the records. It will be interesting to see what the NYCLU finds.

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