EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. — Update 1/11:

A judge has just decided to allow Guiding Hands School to keep its certification while the California Board of Education continues its investigation into the death of a student.

This comes after an appeals hearing, Friday, in Sacramento Superior Court.

On Thursday, ABC10 reported the California Board of Education revoked the certification for the El Dorado Hills school following the death of special needs student Max Benson.

Benson, 13, died after being restrained by staff at the school last November.

An attorney for Guiding Hands School issued a statement.

"It is in the best interest of our students with special needs for the school to remain open at least through the end of the school year."

Approximately 120 students attend the school from 22 school districts across the region.

Officials at Guiding Hands School issue statement after judge allows them to stay open after the California BOE pulled its certification.


The California Board of Education stripped an El Dorado Hills school of its certification after a special needs child died in its care.

Max Benson, a 13-year-old child with autism, died after being restrained by staff after becoming violent at the Guiding Hands School in November 2018. His death brought together hundreds of community members in support of the family and many condemning restraint practices.

Guiding Hands is a private school for special-needs students. Children from 22 public districts across the region go to the school.

Max’s family tells ABC10 they are happy with this decision, though, according to their lawyer Seth Goldstein, they hoped it would happen sooner.

"The most important part of course is to insure the protection of the students that are there," Goldstein said.

RELATED: Coroner identifies autistic El Dorado Hills student who died after being restrained at school

In a letter to those schools, the Board of Education announced that it is stripping its certification for several legal violations, including the use of excessive force during restraint.

Without the certification, some 120 special-needs students that attended the school will now need to transfer elsewhere.

In a video posted to Facebook, Guiding Hands student Bailey Hanes, 18, pleaded for the California Board of Education to reverse its decision to revoke the schools certification.

Her father Chad Hanes says the decision to close will be detrimental to his daughter and her education.

"This is the wrong move," Chad Hanes said. "This is the easy way out."

Guiding Hands School spokesperson Cynthia Lawrence called the decision premature and one that is not in the best interests of the 120 special needs students that attend the school.

"We sought stay of the revocation which contained no factual findings and by CDE’s own admission was incomplete," Lawrence said in a statement.

The school is now seeking to appeal the decision, however, officials say it will remain closed during that process.

The state board of education has not yet released the findings of the investigation into Benson's death.

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