On Friday, December 8, 2018, CNN reported that a student with autism at Guiding Hands School in California passed away in the hospital just two days after being restrained. Though the full details are still unclear, the student was displaying violent behavior and needed to be restrained by school workers. During the restraining process the student became unresponsive, and a teacher began to perform CPR. According to CNN, there were no details on what prompted the student’s behavior, or the techniques that were used in an attempt to restrain him. The Guiding Hands School told CNN reporters that they utilize a “nationally recognized behavior management protocol”, and have staff members that have been trained on how handle to potentially violent situations. After becoming unresponsive the student was brought to Mercy Hospital of Folsom and then moved to UC Davis Medical Center where he passed away two days later. There are currently on-going investigations surround this incident, but as of now the sheriff’s office leading the investigations claims that “there appears to be no evidence of foul play, or criminal intent.” Tragedies like the one that transpired in Guiding Hands School highlight the importance of ensuring schools are utilizing the proper resources and techniques to ensure that potentially dangerous situations like this one are resolved in a way that is safe for both the staff and the student. It’s important to study the details of these events, and use them as a tool to prevent similar incidents. The continued evaluation and improvement of school behavior protocols is paramount towards ensuring a safe educational environment for all students.
Our hearts go out to the student’s family, and all those who grieve.