School Offers Mom $86K To Keep Son With Autism Out

By Michelle Diament

A California mother says that public school officials have offered her tens of thousands of dollars to take her son with autism out of school.

Heather Houston says officials with the Yuba City, Calif. schools made a settlement offer of $86,000 in exchange for her waiving the right of her son, David Swanson, 21, to receive special education services to which he is legally entitled until age 22.

Houston tells  that the settlement offer in August came in response to complaints that Swanson — who in addition to being on the autism spectrum is nonverbal and has diabetes — faced discrimination and was force-fed at school.

District officials acknowledged that the offer was made, but declined to comment further about the case.

Houston insists that her son has a right to complete his education and learn skills like writing his name and phone number.

“The law says he’s allowed access to education,” Houston told “I don’t want their money. I never wanted their money.”

It is imperative that your teachers and administrators are fully aware of IDEA compliance requirements and other laws that concern students with Autism.  To help avoid litigation many school districts require all SPED teachers and administrators to be a Certified Autism Specialist.

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