I'd get out your salt shaker and use it liberally here. Is this 13-year-old boy "really" mentally ill? Or just extremely stressed from living like a prisoner of war with an abusive custodial father as his guard? I'm leaning towards the latter. Why?
1) Dad calls the police because his son "stole a toy" from a locked hallway closet? What the hell? That doesn't even make sense. It doesn't make sense that a parent would call the police on something so stupid, it doesn't make sense that a 13-year-old boy would want a toy, and it doesn't make sense that you would lock a hallway closet. Right off the bat, you know that Daddy's got a few screws lose himself, regardless of whether the son is "schizophrenic" or "ADHD" or whatever psychiatric label is fashionable these days.
2) Meanwhile, the police were much more interested in why Daddy Dearest had actually installed a sliding door with two padlocks to keep this boy confined to his bedroom and nearby bathroom EVERY DAY while he's at work. Not even as an occasional punishment. No. EVERY DAY. And Daddy didn't even figure his at-home prison camp would attract questions? Who's nuts here?
3) Oh, but Daddy's got an answer for everything. All this is justified by his son's psychiatric "illnesses!" As if this were still the 1950s when people were still locked up for such things. And Daddy's even got a back up plan in case there's a fire! He can 'splain everything! The son can call Daddy on the cell phone and find out where the key is hidden. Such a comfort to this child, I'm sure!
4) Note that Daddy had pulled this child out of school, but hadn't got around to making other educational plans. I've seen Florida moms jailed indefinitely just for this, but oh well.
5) And no surprise here, Daddy has a past history of being charged with child abuse and has taken "anger management" classes. Yea, like that did a lot of good.
6) INVISIBLE MOTHER ALERT: Where is this boy's mother, and how/why does this father have custody? Who gave it to him? Of course, there is not one word here about the woman who gave birth to this child--which is all too typical.
Daddy has been charged with child abuse, domestic violence, and false imprisonment. The boy is now in foster care. And the mother is....?
Cops: Dad locked up schizophrenic teen
Ronald M. Halk is accused of locking 13-year-old son into his room for "extended periods of time" on a daily basis, police said.
June 07, 2010
By Kevin P. Connolly and Henry Pierson Curtis, Orlando Sentinel
Ronald M. Halk's parenting broke the law by turning his home into a cell, according to Kissimmee police.
After spending several hours in a bar, the single dad called police early Friday to report that his teenage son had stolen a toy from a locked hallway closet, according to police records.
Rather than arrest the boy, police asked Halk why he installed a sliding door with two padlocks in the family home to keep his son from escaping from his bedroom and a nearby bathroom.
Halk, 43, explained that his son has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and likes to steal things. So Halk locked the teen in the room while he goes to work during the day, records state.
Asked what would happen if a fire broke out, Halk told police that he hides a key in the boy's room every day and leaves him a cell phone and a lunch box with food and water. If there's a fire alarm, the boy knows to call his father, who will call the apartment complex to find out if it's a false alarm, records state.
In the event of fire, Halk told police he would call his son to tell him where to find the hidden key and escape the burning building.
Police charged Halk with child abuse, false imprisonment and domestic violence. He was sent without bail to the Osceola County Jail.
His son was placed in foster care by the state Department of Children and Families, records show.
The teen did not attend school last week because Halk removed him from a nearby middle school last month and planned to have him attend an online virtual school, records state.
In 2007, Halk was accused of child abuse after Osceola County school officials reported that the son said his father had punched him in the mouth because he blamed him for getting thrown out of a local pool hall.
Questioned at the time by police, Halk admitted he lost his temper and swatted the boy across the mouth after the owner of Roosters Club Billiards told them to leave about 10 p.m., records show.
Halk was not charged in that incident, but the state Department of Children and Families referred him to an anger management class, records show.