A settlement approved Wednesday will pay $2 million to the family of Kedar Williams, who died in August 2019 after choking on a chicken nugget at school.
More than a year-and-a-half after the Williams family lost their son, the Palm Beach County School Board has offered $2 million to settle the lawsuit over his death. “His parents are pleased not only with the settlement, but they are most proud of the fact they fought for their son and fought for a training program designed to address the deficiencies that led to Kedar’s death,” mother Megan Williams’ attorney, Sia Baker-Barnes, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Kedar, who was autistic and non-verbal, attended a program for children with disabilities at the Palm Beach high school. He also had a condition that made him especially prone to choking. And while his education plan stipulated that an aide watch him while he ate and cut up his food into small bites if necessary, video footage reportedly showed just one aide supervising Kedar and another student.
The aide was allegedly tending to the other student when Williams began to choke on a chicken nugget. While choking, he had a seizure and was transported to Palm Beach Medical Center but died soon after. “Having your son wave goodbye to you in the morning, before school, and then never seeing him alive again is a mother’s worst nightmare. Our family has a gaping hole without Kedar in our lives,” his mother said in a statement.
Along with the monetary settlement, the Palm Beach County School Board will begin a mandatory training program for principals, teachers, and other employees who work with special needs students. The program will be named after Kedar.
Kedar’s father, Polk County teacher Jeffrey Williams, has filed a separate lawsuit. “He’s around children every day, so this is a reminder of the loss he feels,” said his lawyer, Salesia Smith-Gordon. He will also share a portion of the settlement.
“While no amount of money will ever take away the pain caused by this tragedy, the School District of Palm Beach County hopes that the settlement reached with the Williams family will help to ease the burden of this tremendous loss,” district spokeswoman Claudia Shea said in a statement.