Columnists and Bloggers Weigh in on a 13-Year Old HIV-Positive Student Being Denied Admission to a Pennsylvania Boarding School
December 12, 2011
Officials from the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Penn., have found themselves at the center of serious controversy after denying admission to a 13-year old honor roll student because he is HIV positive. School officials claim that they have serious "health concerns" and fear for the safety of other students at the boarding school -- despite long-established evidence that HIV is not spread through casual contact such as hugging and kissing, and is usually transmitted in the U.S. through unprotected sex or sharing needles with someone who is HIV positive, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Connie McNamara, a spokesman for Milton Hershey, told Reuters that this situation is special because being a boarding school means having children live there "24 hours a day, 7 days a week":
The child's family has retained legal counsel and is suing the school. In a press release, Ronda B. Goldfein, AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania executive director and the family's attorney, stated, "Like Ryan White, 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."
The federal Americans with Disabilities Act makes it illegal to discriminate based on real or perceived disabilities.
Since this news hit on Dec. 1 (World AIDS Day, no less), the blogosphere has erupted in opposition and support of the school's decision.
Columnist Gil Spencer of the Delaware County Daily Times argued that this that the risk of transmission is not as remote as those opposing the school's decision make it out to be:
Blogger Corina Fiore of The Broad Side highlighted what she thought made the school's decision illegal:
Even a few of TheBody.com's bloggers have weighed in on the issue.
In "Demand Hershey Trust Co. (Owners of Hershey Company) Reverse Decision on HIV+Student and Dismiss School Officials," Kevin Maloney wrote:
And in a video blog, "HIV-Positive 13-Year-Old Honor Student DENIED Education by Milton Hershey School," Justin B. Terry-Smith states:
Where do you stand on the issue?
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This article was provided by TheBody.com.
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