By Lemor Abrams


EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) — The El Dorado School where a student with Autism was restrained and later died is shutting its doors. This comes less than two months after the death of 13-year-old Max Benson.

Guiding Hands is a private school that contracts with school districts to serve students the district can’t. Cindy Brown’s two special needs kids still attend the school, even after the November death of one of their peers.

Investigators say Benson became unresponsive after school staff placed in him in a face-down restraint.

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“This devastated this group… these are good people these aids some have been here 15,20,22 years. They’ve grown up with my kids,” Brown said.

She’s one of 120 parents who chose to keep their kids enrolled, while dozens of others pulled theirs out.

One parent told CBS13 her son was also violently restrained in class. Rallies followed the tragic incident. Parents demanded state intervention and got it.

In a letter to the school this week, the CA Dept. of Education said it’s revoking the facility’s license, citing a number of violations including:

“An amount of force not reasonable and necessary under the circumstances.” and that “emergency intervention was used for longer than was necessary.”

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David Chambers is a clinical healthcare manager at the school and has two special needs students enrolled. He believes it’s in their best interest for the school to stay open. But says the Elk Grove School District, one of several districts contracted with Guiding Hands, is helping find placement for students.

The state would not comment on the number of options available to students. They only said the school won’t be able to apply for re-certification for two full years from now.

The school says it plans to appeal the decision.

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