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Manslaughter Charges Filed Against Employees in Death of Special Needs Student

Manslaughter charges have been filed against three employees of Guiding Hands School, Inc. in the death of a 13-year-old special needs student, CBS News reports.

Guiding Hands School, Inc. Executive Director and Site Administrator Cindy Keller, Principal Staranne Meyers and special education teacher Kimberly Wohlwend each face one charge of felony involuntary manslaughter for the incident.

Max Benson, 13, died in November 2018 after being restrained by staff due to violent behavior. Authorities say when Benson became unresponsive, a teacher attempted to perform CPR. Benson died two days later at the UC Davis Medical Center.

After Benson’s death, the California Department of Education suspended Guiding Hands School, Inc.’s certification and it was closed. The school reportedly violated state rules when its staff put Benson in a face-down restraint position for nearly an hour.

CBS News says all three were arraigned in court Wednesday afternoon.

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