Saturday, December 03, 2011

Keeping an HIV-Positive Student Out Of School?

It's a boarding school, so I guess the possibilities for, uh, "transmitting the disease" are a little higher than at a neighborhood public school:
The Hershey, Pa., boarding school that denied an HIV-positive 13-year-old boy entry said today that the school's residential setting and the risk of sexual activity made the teen too much of a "threat."

The AIDS Law Project filed suit on behalf of the unidentified boy Wednesday in Philadelphia District Court, alleging that the Milton Hershey School violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, which includes HIV in its scope.

"This young man is a motivated, intelligent kid who poses no health risk to other students, but is being denied an educational opportunity because of ignorance and fear about HIV and AIDS," said Ronda Goldfein, the boy's lawyer...

(School spokesperson) McNamara knows well that coughing, hugging, and public restrooms won't cause someone to get HIV.

She said the school was most worried the boy would have sex -- if not now, at some point in his future years at the school, where students in groups of 10-12 live together in on-campus housing.

"Our kids are no different than teenagers anywhere else," she said. "Despite encouraging abstinence, we can not be 100 percent certain our kids are not engaging in sexual activity."

Can they keep him out? Should they keep him out?


Jean said...

I don't think that's right.

maxutils said...

So many questions.

Is it boarding school that permits underage sex, if you aren't HIV positive? How did they find out highly personal medical data? And, don't public scoos refuse to let you attend until you've received certain vaccinaations? And, shouldn't a private schoo be able to refuse admittance to anyone? We have all girl schools that refuse admittance to boys, and vice versa.

So can they? I don't see why not. Should they? Probably no.

Cal said...

And what is any parent going to do if his or her child has sex with this boy and get AIDS, despite the school's best efforts? Why, they will just sue the school.

Perfectly reasonable decision.

PeggyU said...

Since it is a private school, and since they must consider their liability if something should happen, I agree with Cal.

One incident would be enough to seriously damage the school - both its finances and its reputation - so it is probably not worth the risk to admit him.