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Settlement for autistic student is released

February 09, 2007|Seema Mehta | Times Staff Writer

The Irvine Unified School District will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for the education of a severely autistic child whose parents said they were forced to lavish expensive gifts on district staff to ensure he received proper schooling, according to the settlement agreement released Thursday.

In addition, the Orange County Grand Jury is looking into the matter and has requested the settlement agreement from the district.

For the first time, the district conceded Thursday that its staff had accepted inappropriate gifts, but said there was no coercion.

Thomas and Liya Lin filed a claim against the district Nov. 2, alleging that they were forced to shower employees at Canyon View Elementary School with diamonds, Coach bags, Chanel perfume and other extravagant gifts to ensure their son Jonathan, now 7, received proper schooling.

The Irvine couple dropped the gifts claim when a proposed settlement with the district was announced in December and the board approved it in January. District officials initially refused to disclose the terms of the settlement but agreed after The Times filed a request under the California Public Records Act.

Under the agreement, the district will reimburse the family $80,000 for the child's educational expenses for the time since he was pulled out of school, and for attorney fees. Additionally, the district agreed to pay for the following through June 30, 2008: 35 hours per week of in-home behavioral analysis, three hours per week of occupational therapy, three hours per week of speech and language therapy, 12 hours per month of supervision of the home program, and 12 hours per month of clinic attendance.

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seema.mehta@latimes.com

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