Vigil held for student who died after being restrained by educators

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PLACERVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) -- Loved ones shared memories of Max Benson as they gathered for a vigil at the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office Sunday.

The vigil was held nearly one year after his death.

Charles Langley, Benson's grandfather, said they chose the DA's office because it's the beginning of the public activity they've taken up to prevent what happened to Max from happening to other children.

Benson, who had autism, died after he was restrained by an educator at Guiding Hands School in El Dorado Hills.

“He could tell you everything you wanted to know and a few things you didn’t want to know about rocks,” family friend Karen Hirsch said.

The school was later closed, and charges against the educators involved were filed by the district attorney’s office in November.

“I am pleased that the DA is taking this as an earnest activity to pursue,” Langley said.

Attorneys for the two educators told FOX40 that the “two women have dedicated literally their entire lives to helping, educating, encouraging and working with special needs students.”

But family and friends say they want justice for Max.

“Having people know exactly what happened to him is part of justice for Max and having people held accountable is justice for Max,” Hirsch said.

Langley said that you’re always expecting them to come home.

“It’s an amazingly terrible event when that doesn't happen,” Langley said.

The judge ruled last week that the educators being charged can no longer teach or run a daycare.

They are expected back in court in January.


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