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EDITORIAL EXTREME MEASURES LAUSD PAYOFF TO INJURED STUDENT ONLY ENCOURAGES MORE ABUSIVE ATTACKS.

THE treatment David Grant received from the Los Angeles Unified School District after he was partially disabled in a campus accident a decade ago is shameful.

The former vocational student lost a leg - and maybe his youth - and was compensated as little as the district could legally get away with, his current medical bills. That turned out to be not much, thanks to an obscure and nonsensical law that classifies vocational students as employees, thus limiting their ability to sue.

After years of struggling with an unresponsive bureaucracy, workers' comp and insurance companies, it's not surprising the frustration drove Grant to extreme measures. What was surprising was the novel - and rather personal - way he did it.

Grant bought domain names for those who he felt were obstructing justice in his quest. One of them, royromer.com, bashed the LAUSD superintendent personally. The site included diatribes against Romer, quotes and, incongruously, pornography. Clearly, Grant had gone over the edge and had nowhere to turn.

Shockingly, his campaign worked. After more than a decade of rejecting his every claim, the school board agreed last week behind closed doors and without public discussion or adequate notice to pay Grant $360,000.

That payment is not for his pain and suffering but solely for medical bills for the rest of his life - or so LAUSD officials would have us believe.

The settlement is contingent on Grant leaving Romer and everyone else he's harassed alone. He also has to surrender ownership of royromer.com to the LAUSD, which may be the real point to the deal.

If this was the right thing to do, it was the right thing to do a decade ago, before Grant went on the offensive. People harmed by the LAUSD shouldn't have to go to extreme and absurd measures to get a fair deal.

Of course, if the payoff was for what could be construed as Internet blackmail, school officials have made a big mistake. By kowtowing to such tactics, they only will encourage imitators to use the Internet for abusive attacks on public officials.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jan 24, 2006
Words:345
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