Household To Get $2 Million After Teen With Particular Wants Choked To Dying At Faculty

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Kedar Williams couldn’t save himself from suffocating at school, but his memory can help save the lives of many other students with disabilities.

A year and a half after Williams, a 19-year-old student with autism, died in high school without being watched, the Palm Beach County School Board agreed to pay his family $ 2 million.

The settlement, which was approved last week, also provides for a mandatory training program named in Williams honor for school principals, teachers and other staff working with students with special needs.

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“Not only are his parents happy with the settlement but also very proud of the fact that they fought for their son and for an educational program to correct the shortcomings that led to Kedar’s death,” said lawyer Sia Baker -Barnes who represents his mother Megan Williams and estate.

On August 13, 2019, Kedar Williams, who was enrolled in a program for special needs students at William T. Dwyer High in Palm Beach Gardens, was rushed to hospital by ambulance after choking on a chicken nugget.

Williams had a form of autism that made him largely non-verbal and spoke few words. He also had a condition that made him prone to aspiration or suffocation. At the age of 11, he almost died of a suffocating incident.

His individual education program required that he be assigned an aide. The aide should watch him eat closely and cut up his food if necessary, Baker-Barnes said. The condition also resulted in 24/7 home care.

When the new school year started in August 2019, the school didn’t have enough staff to serve its students, the lawyer said. Unknown to his mother, Dwyer High had an aide who oversaw two high-need students. The clerk took care of the other student at lunch and didn’t look at Williams as the video showed.

Williams ate a large piece of the chicken nugget, which caused him to aspirate and have a fit. He was taken to the Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, where he soon died.

“It’s a mother’s worst nightmare when your son waves goodbye to you in the morning before school and then never sees him alive again. Our family has a gaping hole in our lives with no kedar, ”his mother Megan Williams said in a statement.

The ordeal was also traumatic for his father, Jeffrey Williams, a Polk County teacher who filed a separate lawsuit but will be part of the $ 2 million settlement.

“He is with children every day so this is a reminder of the loss he is feeling,” said Salesia Smith-Gorden, an attorney for the father.

There is typically a $ 300,000 limit on negligence or liability cases unless a claims statement is filed with Florida lawmakers that allows for a higher payout. This process can take years.

However, the plaintiffs in this case also filed a lawsuit at the federal court with the regional court in which they alleged a violation of federal protection for students with disabilities. This allowed them to gather a larger settlement without the legislature.

“While no amount of money will ever alleviate the pain caused by this tragedy, the Palm Beach County School District hopes the settlement reached with the Williams family will help ease the burden of this enormous loss,” said district spokeswoman Claudia Shea in a statement.

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