Barred HIV-Positive Kids Allowed Back to School in India
June 18, 2007
A Christian-affiliated school in southern India today allowed a group of HIV-positive children to return to class, six months after they were expelled.
"We all love to go to school and study with our friends," said a nine-year-old among the group. During the months they were kept out of school, the children studied at a nonprofit home for the destitute and were able to take their regular exams.
In December, complaints from parents of other students prompted the school to expel the five children. And while personnel at the 65-pupil school say they are prepared to accommodate the returning students, they add that parents' attitudes remain a challenge. "They didn't listen to our reasoning, as a majority of the parents are ill-educated and poor," said Elsamma Mani, headmistress.
The school reversed its policy and allowed the HIV-positive kids to return only after the state government threatened to pull its license to operate.
Even as they welcomed news that the school had changed its policy, activists pointed to the case as an example of how widespread anti-HIV discrimination is in India.
Agence France Presse
06.18.07; Jemmon Jacob
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.