SACRAMENTO January 11, 2019 – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that the California Department of Education (CDE) has revoked state certification for Guiding Hands School in El Dorado Hills.
Guiding Hands is a private, non-public school that serves students with disabilities, primarily students with autism and/or emotional disturbances as defined under the provisions of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Due to the revocation, as of January 11, local educational agencies will not be able to use special education funds to pay for students to attend the school. CDE does not have the authority to close a private, non-public school.
CDE began an investigation of Guiding Hands School on November 28 after learning about an incident with a student who later died. On December 5, based on a preliminary investigation, the CDE suspended the certification, which prohibited the school from accepting new students but allowed the school to continue to serve existing students. The decision to revoke the school’s certification was based on numerous California Education Code violations, including violations related to the use of restraints.
Families of students with disabilities who are enrolled at Guiding Hands School will work with their local educational agencies and their Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams to find alternative placements that meet the needs of each individual student.
Thurmond said the CDE will be working with special education stakeholders and policy makers to address how California can better ensure the health and safety of students through the use of best practices related to behavioral interventions and restraints.
“We must work harder to protect our most vulnerable students to ensure their health and safety and do whatever it takes to help them realize their greatest potential,” he said.
Additional information on certification may be found at the CDE’s Nonpublic School (NPS) Application web page.