The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
HIV/AIDS Blog Central

HIV-Positive 13-Year-Old Honor Student DENIED Education by Milton Hershey School

A Video Blog

By Justin B. Terry-Smith

December 6, 2011

A 13-year-old teenager was denied entry into the Milton Hershey School of Hershey, Pa., because he is HIV positive. The spokesperson for the Hershey School, Connie McNamara, has said, "We had to balance his rights and interests with our obligation to provide for the health and safety of other students. ... And this meets a direct threat."

A teenager with HIV is NOT a threat to anyone. How dare the Milton School in this day and age do something so damn ignorant? I cannot believe that this is going on today. McNamara knows very well that HIV is not transmitted through everyday behavior, so she says in this statement: "Our kids are no different than teenagers anywhere else," she said. "Despite encouraging abstinence, we cannot be 100 percent certain our kids are not engaging in sexual activity."

Honestly, is this the reason you are citing? This is pathetic and the educators who are doing this should be educated themselves. READ A BOOK. How dare you deny this young man the education that he so justly deserves? What is the matter with you? You should be denied the right to be educators because of these discriminatory acts towards this young man.

McNamara also said this: "We looked at the law and our unique program and made the best decision we could," she said. "Our heart goes out to this young man."

I don't think anyone who denies a child an education has a heart, and if they do it's cold as ice. Unfortunately history has reared its ugly head again. Ryan White had to go through a lot trying to get into public school because he had AIDS. Hopefully this young man will come out on top like White did.

Did you also know today is Ryan White's birthday?

Send Justin an e-mail.

Get e-mail notifications every time Justin's blog is updated.

See Also
Remembering Ryan White and Thoughts on Milton Hershey School
Demand Hershey Trust Co. (Owners of Hershey Company) Reverse Decision on HIV+ Student and Dismiss School Officials
More on HIV/AIDS-Related Discrimination Cases

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Tom (Northern Afghanistan) Tue., Apr. 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm EDT
More details needed in this story. Public schools are government and state funded and mandated by law to provide an education to everyone that doesnt discriminate againt illness like HIV. However if memory serves Hershey is private and cares for more than just an education. It also provides housing, clothing, post secondary grants, and pays all medical fee's associated with their students. If that is still true then a horrible disease like HIV could bankrupt their charity in medical fee's in short order. Weighing the good of the many over this student is a no brainer. It sounds cold, but its simply financial triage. Not discrimination.
Reply to this comment

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:
Justin's HIV Journal

Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith, M.P.H., may be one of the most public African Americans living with HIV: He has his own website, and he's even on YouTube. He is a noted HIV and gay civil rights activist and the creator of "Justin's HIV Journal," a popular blog in which he shares his trials and tribulations of living with HIV. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Justin resides in Laurel, Maryland, with his husband, Dr. Philip Terry-Smith, and their son, Lundyn. Presently, Justin is working toward earning his doctorate in public health. He welcomes your questions.
(Photo credit: Don Harris)

More About Justin:
Read's Interview With Justin

Subscribe to Justin's Blog:

Subscribe by RSSBy RSS ?

Subscribe by Email

Recent Posts:

View All Posts

A Brief Disclaimer:

The opinions expressed by's bloggers are entirely their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of itself.