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Reged: 01/05/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: NJ
HIV scare puts Mo. school in uncertain territory
      #242879 - 10/24/08 01:03 AM

HIV scare puts Mo. school in uncertain territory
NORMANDY, Mo., Thu Oct 23, 08:11 PM

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Students at a suburban St. Louis high school headed to the gymnasium for HIV testing this week after an infected person told health officials as many as 50 teenagers might have been exposed to the virus that causes AIDS.

Officials refused to give details on who the person was or how the students at Normandy High School might have been exposed, but the district is consulting with national AIDS organizations as it tries to minimize the fallout and prevent the infection ó and misinformation ó from spreading.

"There's potential for stigma for all students regardless of whether they're positive or negative," Normandy School District spokesman Doug Hochstedler said Thursday. "The board wants to be sure all children are fully educated."

A teacher in a neighboring district singled out a girl who dates someone at Normandy High and instructed her to get tested, Hochstedler said. A competing school's football team initially balked at playing Normandy's 8-0 team.

Jasmine Lane, a 16-year-old sophomore, said her boyfriend from a neighboring high school broke up with her on learning of the news ó after she bought them tickets to homecoming.

"I cried so hard," she said.

Hochstedler said that as far as he knows, no other district has had to handle a similar situation. Students at the school of 1,300 are being tested, and the district is getting advice on the best ways to support kids in crisis.

Sophomore Tevin Baldwin said that many of his classmates in this working-class city of about 5,000 residents want to transfer out of the district, which encompasses other towns.

"Nobody knows what's going on," he said. The district declined to respond to his assertion.

Marcus Holman, a 14-year-old freshman, said he never imagined HIV would become such a widespread threat at school.

"I'm just trying to pass, get to the next grade, safely," he said.

Normandy Superintendent Stanton Lawrence agreed that students remain focused on learning, despite concerns and distraction. There's no hysteria or panic, and school is running routinely, he said.

"They recognize this situation is what it is, and doesn't mean school is over," he said. "Their concern is heightened, but we have to face it and do the responsible thing."

The St. Louis County Health Department said last week that a positive HIV test raised concern that students at Normandy might have been exposed. The department is not saying whether the infected person was a student or connected with the school, only that the person indicated as many as 50 students may have been exposed.

The Health Department also will not say how any exposure might have occurred. Health Department spokesman Craig LeFebvre has said the possibilities include sexual activity, intravenous drug use, piercings and tattoos.

Hochstedler said the district doesn't know the person's identity, or even whether he or she is a student.

"We do know there was some potential exposure between that person and students," he said. "We don't know the individual or the route of transmission."

The district learned Oct. 9 of the potential exposure and within a business day worked out with the Health Department how to release the information and handle testing, he said.

"They took a very proactive stance," he said. "There's no precedent for this."

Students are being tested at six stations in the high school gymnasium, one class at a time. Only representatives from the Health Department are with the students, who are offered educational materials and a chance to ask questions before they are given an opportunity to be tested with a mouth swab, Hochstedler said. They may decline.

They exit through a separate door, and no one in the school would know who did or did not get tested.

"It's entirely up to the student," he said. "There's a lot of stigma associated with this."

The district will never know whether or how many of its students tested positive, he said.

"Once they're tested," he said, "it's an issue between the department and the child and his family."

So far, the district has met twice with parents and begun to ask ministers in the community to stress the importance of responsible behavior, Lawrence said.

Students in grades four through 12 already take classes that discuss the consequences of risky behavior, including HIV, he said.

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Reged: 11/11/07
Posts: 58
Re: HIV scare puts Mo. school in uncertain territory new
      #242908 - 10/26/08 09:52 PM

That makes my tummy ill to think that someone might have purposly exposed that many CHILDREN knowingly!!!. I hope it was just a prank? Do you know any follow up stories on this?

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Reged: 05/29/07
Posts: 96
Re: HIV scare puts Mo. school in uncertain territo new
      #242980 - 10/31/08 01:15 PM

I think this is probably nonsense! He probably doesn't know how HIV is transmitted. I doubt he either shared needles or had unprotected intercourse with 5o kids.

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Reged: 05/13/07
Posts: 435
Loc: Phila,Pa
Re: HIV scare puts Mo. school in uncertain territo new
      #242989 - 11/01/08 01:18 AM

It didn't have to be 50 for him,if he shared needles or had unprotected sex with 1 or 2 and then they each went on to 1 or 2 others it would quickly reach 50 or more.

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Reged: 06/27/08
Posts: 175
Re: HIV scare puts Mo. school in uncertain territory new
      #242992 - 11/01/08 10:35 AM

knowing what we know about HIV I cannot understand what this scare is about, maybe it's chicken pox or TB they are talking about


How Many Roads Must A Man Walk Down Before He Admits Hes lost

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Reged: 03/02/06
Posts: 276
Loc: rural upstate NY
Re: HIV scare puts Mo. school in uncertain territory new
      #242994 - 11/01/08 07:37 PM

When my daughter was 14 and her best friend was 13, they admitted to me they were having a contest to see who could give blowjobs to the most guys. She's 20 now, but I have an 11-year old also. I don't think I have anything to worry about (YET) with the 11-year old, but you never know, they are starting younger and younger.

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Reged: 12/18/08
Posts: 2
Re: HIV scare puts Mo. school in uncertain territory new
      #243571 - 12/18/08 04:19 AM

This story is a fake. Its an "Urban Legend". Its suspect when the story included the names of children; The story is a FAKE.

No public school can release any names of any children, not can they cannot cause any child to be tested for anything without parental consent. Schools are under strict Federal laws protecting the privacy of all children.

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Reged: 01/20/07
Posts: 1186
Re: HIV scare puts Mo. school in uncertain territory new
      #243578 - 12/18/08 06:40 PM

Itís no urban legend. It was widely covered when the story first came out. Both in print and on TV. I first saw the story as a headline on Yahoo.

Doing a quick Google could have confirmed the legitimacy of this story.

You are correct no school can mandatory test a child for anything without parental consent. I didnít see in the story that they were specifically testing without consent. Nor do I see that the school released any names. Thereís no law barring a child being interviewed with parental permission.

More to the point is that itís a shame that the specter of HIV still causes mass and unnecessary panic.

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