Teacher who ‘pinned vomiting autistic boy, 13, face down for two hours before he died’ was allowed to keep working – The Sun

A TEACHER accused of pinning down an autistic child while he vomited and wet himself continued to work after the boy died.

Max Benson, 13, died in November 2018 after Kimberly Wohlwend allegedly restrained him, face down on the floor, at the now defunct private Guiding Hands School in California.

A civil lawsuit filed against the school states that Wohlwend restrained Benson with the help of other school workers.

But she was still teaching at another school until mid-November, a year after Max Benson's death in November 2018, reports CBS13.

Wohlwend reportedly stopped teaching at Sierra Ridge Middle School on November 11, 2019 but she was still employed as a special education teacher in the Pollock Pines School District.

The California Department of Education told The Sun Online it "does not oversee teacher credentialing."

We reached out to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing for comment on Wednesday.

Reports indicate that they allegedly showed no record of action against Wohlwend.

Her special education and elementary teaching credentials do not expire for more than a year, according to CBS13.

The agency can't revoke a teacher’s credentials unless they are convicted of certain crimes, they are a sex offender, or a court deems them to be insane.

CBS13 also states that it's reportedly up to school districts to stop credentialed educators from teaching if they're behavior is under investigation.

On November 13, a judge ruled all three defendants cannot teach or provide daycare services until further notice, according to KCRA 3.

This comes after the California DOE confirmed the restraints she used before Max’s death violated state law.

Executive Director and Site Administrator Cindy Keller and former Principal Staranne Meyers are also accused of involuntary manslaughter. All three have pleaded not guilty.

The District Attorney's (DA) office also filed the suit against the El Dorado Hills school "after a lengthy, multi-agency investigation into the facts and circumstances."

Max was sick and urinated on himself but was never let up from the face down “prone restraint” position until he stopped breathing, according to court papers from a civil suit filed by Benson’s family.

El Dorado County Sheriff’s officials said the boy became violent and had to be restrained by staff to prevent other students from getting hurt.

Authorities said after Max stopped breathing, a teacher began CPR.

But Paramedics weren't called until 25 minutes after Max fell unconscious, according to the civil suit.

In December 2018, El Dorado Sheriff's Office released a statement saying "a student at the school became violent and needed to be restrained by school staff."

The civil lawsuit stated that staff “imposed a prolonged prone restraint on Max and failed to render competent medical aid to Max.”

The Education Department closed the school permanently back in January and the next court date for the DA's criminal suit is scheduled for January 7, 2020.

[Staff] imposed a prolonged prone restraint on Max and failed to render competent medical aid to Max.

However, Keller and Meyers attorney Linda Parisi gave a statement to KCRA 3 emphasizing how they dedicated their lives to educating special needs students.

“They have a 25-year history of exemplary service at Guiding Hands School" Parisi said. "They were a treasure to this community and it is a loss.”

Since his death, Max's mom Stasia Langley has been campaigning for autistic children and raising awareness.

After a nationwide vigil in his memory went viral with the hashtag #ShineOnMax earlier this month, she took to Facebook to issue a statement.

"My entire family is filled with so much gratitude for the wonderful people we know & all the things they did to make this a beautiful (if very sad) day.

"He shines on because of you guys," Stacia wrote. "So many thanks to old friends, new friends, & strangers who came out to remember Max.

"We will do everything in our power to make sure this never happens to another child."

In an interview with the Aspergian, a website focussed on autistic voices and expression, Max's mother emphasized his spirit and zest for life.

She said: "He was the funniest, most energetic person I know.  He made everything so fun.  It’s like my whole family is missing its sun now.

"He was a hero.  He enriched my life in ways I cannot fully articulate, but he was like a fiery star.  He taught me things I could not have learned from any other person."

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