Last year, a 14-year old boy was denied admission to the Milton Hersey School in Delaware because he was HIV positive. Isn’t it enough that the poor boy has to live with the disease, but to face discrimination also? After the Justice Department investigated the boy’s complaint, they found that the school had violated provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, by denying him admission. Rightly so, because having HIV is a traumatic enough. Being told you could be a threat to other students because of the potential for sexual contact is not something you can forgive or forget easily. Even though the school notified the boy that he would be allowed to attend school come this school year, of course the boy rejected the offer.
“He did not feel welcome. It was hard for a 14-year-old to put behind him what they said about him,” said Ronda Goldfein, the executive director of the AIDS Law Project which represented the boy.
The settlement for the lawsuit stipulated that the school will pay $700,000 for the case and $15,000 more to the federal government to settle potential civil penalties. Even so, the boy has been done a great injustice. Especially for a young adolescent, this kind of mental anguish is something that will hurt for a very long time.
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