The Brentwood Unified School District finalized the settlement last week with Caneel Carlin's family stemming from a January 2012 lawsuit she filed on behalf of her son against the district, Loma Vista Elementary School special education teacher Dina Holder and principal Lauri James.
The suit accused the parties of battery, negligence, failed mandated reporting duties and other infractions. Holder yanked the boy out of his seat and kicked him twice as he fell to the ground in May 2010.
Holder, 52, a 20-year teacher, then yelled at the boy while nearly a dozen other students watched. In 2011, Holder pleaded no contest to misdemeanor child abuse charges and was placed on four years' probation and received a year of child abuse training.
Carlin, 36, of Concord, Calif., said she reported the incident to police and it was only then that Holder was held liable for the incident at the school nearly three years ago. Teachers and school administrators are required by law to forward any reports of child abuse to police.
"He came home with a bruise, but the school district didn't even tell me what had happened until about a week later," Carlin said in a statement. "Neither the principal nor the district contacted the police. My husband and I had to pursue criminal action, and the school obstructed our efforts every step of the way."
On Wednesday, Brentwood School District Superintendent Merrill Grant apologized for Holder's behavior.
"The actions that led to the lawsuit are both appalling and upsetting," Grant said. "I'm a parent in the district and I reacted the same way as the rest of the community.... We're deeply sorry for what this family and child have endured."
The lawsuit said the teacher had previously used profanity in the classroom, shaken a child, slapped another child and strapped a child's legs to his chair with masking tape.
As part of the settlement, Holder can longer teach in a classroom and will retire at the end of the school year.
"My victory was having her leave that classroom and never come back," Carlin told the Contra Costa Times. "I truly believe they were covering this up, and it went as high as the district. It was like a bad movie. A bad nightmare."
Investigators also found that Holder was not properly certified to teach children with autism, many of whom were in her class.
"The abuse toward this young boy could have been prevented, but there was a systematic failure of school district employees to comply with their mandatory duty to report suspected child abuse," Peter Alfert, the family's attorney, said in a statement. "Numerous school employees were aware of Ms. Holder's unfitness."