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Local News in Brief : El Toro : Order to Let Ailing Boy Stay in School Is Upheld

A state appellate court Monday upheld a judge’s 1986 order than an 11-year-old hemophiliac who tested positive for AIDS antibodies be allowed to attend public school in El Toro.

The 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana also upheld Superior Court Judge James A. Jackman’s order that the Saddleback Valley Unified School District pay $10,000 in fees to the attorney who represented Deborha Phipps in the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of her nephew, Channon Phipps.

The school district appealed the decision, claiming that Jackman had no reason to issue the injunction, since Phipps was already attending school with the district’s approval at the time the court order was issued.

“We appealed . . . not to keep him out of school, but because we felt (the order) was not necessary because he was already in school. We appealed (the injunction) as a matter of principle,” said David C. Larsen, the attorney for the school district.

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“We felt the attorney fees were not appropriate in this case . . . because the situation . . . could have been resolved without litigation.”

Deborha Phipps, Channon’s legal guardian, claimed in her lawsuit that Channon had been “expelled” from his elementary school because his blood contains AIDS-linked antibodies. Channon does not have acquired immune deficiency syndrome, but the presence of antibodies indicates that he has been exposed to the deadly virus.

The court later found that the boy had not been expelled but that the district had prevented him from attending classes while formulating a policy regarding AIDS.

Channon, now 13, is enrolled in the eighth grade at Serrano Intermediate School in El Toro, his aunt said.

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