Hidden Secret: Young Killers Who Don’t Get Needed Mental Care


Teacher Todd Henry’s death in a classroom last September was a predictable horror story, says the Dallas Morning News. Cops and educators, judges and doctors, counselors and prison guards shuffled a throwaway kid named Byron through institution after institution until he buried a butcher knife in the special education teacher’s chest. Even Henry saw it coming, saying weeks before he died that a kid in his class was going to kill someone. Describing the voices that told him to kill, Byron told a psychologist last month: “People already knew that something was going to happen like this.”

Long before the killing, state and local agencies exhaustively documented the 17-year-old’s descent into madness and violence. Now Byron is jailed, awaiting pretrial hearings. His court-appointed lawyer, Jim Huggler says Byron needs what he has never gotten – consistent mental health treatment. “He hasn’t just fallen through the cracks. The system keeps throwing him through the cracks,” Huggler said. “Everything set up to prevent what happened to Mr. Henry was broken.” Experts say such disconnects are sadly common. The head of a Michigan juvenile agency told Congress that the problem of juvenile offenders getting little coordinated care until they commit horrific crimes is “the hidden secret that nobody wants to talk about.”

Comments are closed.