School Staff Charged With Manslaughter Over Death Of Autistic Student

CW: mentions of child abuse and death. Whenever we watch our kids get on the bus each morning or walk into school, we expect that they are in good hands. After all, kids spend more time at school during the week than they do at home. We choose schools that we have confidence in as parents, especially if we have a child with special needs who requires extra attention.

For a Northern California family, that trust was broken whenever their son Max lost his life on school ground and justice is finally being served.

Credit: Screenshot / ABC News

Guiding Hands School, a former private school in El Dorado Hills, California, as well as three of its ex-employees were charged on Tuesday with felony involuntary manslaughter about a year after 13-year-old Max Benson, an autistic child, died while on the school's premises authorities said.

The school, as described by their website, was founded in 1993, and a private school that offered education to students ages 2 to 21 in small class sizes from kindergarten through 12th grade.

According to the El Dorado County District Attorney's Office, the three employees being charged are the school's executive director, principal and a special education teacher. They are being charged with manslaughter in connection to the student's death.

Max, who was described as being 6 feet tall and 280 pounds, was diagnosed with severe autism and died on Nov. 28, 2018 - just two days after the accident. The student was placed in a prone restraint by his teacher, who did this because apparently he spat on a classmate and became violent, according to police.

Once restrained, he became unresponsive and a teacher then began administering CPR until a medic arrived. He was then transported to Mercy Hospital of Folsom in critical condition and then moved to UC Davis Medical Center, where he died two days later, police said.

According to an ABC affiliate,  after the incident, the California Department of Education  suspended the school’s certification due to the student's death and it closed its doors for good in  January.

While investigating this case further, the  California Department of Education did find sufficient evidence that Guiding Hands staff had restrained Benson "for longer than was necessary" using more than reasonable force, according to KXTV.

The teachers involved will will appear for an arraignment on Nov. 13.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Max Benson, who lost his life much too soon.

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