January 25, 2019
California Department of Education Completes Investigation into Guiding Hands School
Sacramento—State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced today that the California Department of Education (CDE) has completed its current investigations into Guiding Hands School. Guiding Hands is a private, nonpublic school that serves students with disabilities.
CDE revoked the school’s certification, effective January 11, 2019 based on numerous investigations, including one involving the death of a student, and alleged violations of improper use of restraints in violation of the California Education Code. As a result of the revocation, Guiding Hands School was no longer certified by the CDE as a nonpublic school. On January 11, 2019, a Sacramento Superior Court judge temporarily placed the revocation by CDE on hold, pending a hearing scheduled for January 25, 2019. As of 1:30 PM today, a judge affirmed that the temporary restraining order was dissolved, which means that the revocation previously issued by CDE stands.
“Revoking a school’s certification is an action that the CDE takes very seriously, and it is not done without careful consideration and justification,” said State Superintendent Thurmond. “Guiding Hands’ refusal to take responsibility for its actions is disheartening. It would be an injustice to the families we serve if we did not do everything within our authority to ensure that students are placed in an environment where their safety is the number one priority of those who have been entrusted with their care.”
Students were placed at Guiding Hands School pursuant to their Individualized Education Program (IEP). Currently, families of students with disabilities who were enrolled at Guiding Hands School have been working with their local educational agencies and their IEP teams to find alternative placements that meet the needs of each individual student.
On January 17, 2019 Guiding Hands School notified CDE that they would retire their certification effective at 5:00 PM on January 25, 2019. Any future nonpublic school opening at the school’s former location will have to be certified by the CDE. Additional information on the certification process, including its timeline, can be found at the CDE’s Nonpublic School (NPS) Application web page. On January 24, Guiding Hands filed a request for dismissal of its efforts to delay the revocation.The CDE is taking steps to address how California might provide additional accountability and oversight of nonpublic schools. A first step is collaboration with behavioral experts, stakeholders, and education providers to ensure training and information is disseminated regarding the provisions of AB 2657 (Weber). The bill became law on January 1, 2019, and limits the use of restraints and seclusion and requires the state to collect data on the use of restraint and seclusion. Information about AB 2657 is available on the California Legislative Information web site .
# # # #
Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100