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A Pennsylvania school has denied admission to a 13-year-old HIV-positive boy.
A Pennsylvania high school has denied a 13-year-old boy from attending because he is HIV-positive.
The boy, who was unidentified in the lawsuit filed in Philadelphia, is suing the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania for violating “multiple anti-discrimination laws that protect the rights of people with HIV to remain free from unwarranted discrimination,” CNN reported.
The boarding school said they denied the adolescent due to the school’s residential setting and the risk of sexual activity would make the boy a “threat,” ABC News reported. The AIDS Law Project filed suit on his behalf.
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"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," said Ronda Goldfein, the boy's lawyer, ABC News reported.
The cost-free school, founded in 1909 by infamous chocolate maker Milton S. Hershey and his wife, Catherine, has 1,850 students with grades spanning from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. According to the suit, the boy is described as an honors student and student athlete who takes five pills for medication per day and one vitamin, which doesn’t impact his school schedule, CNN reported.
"In order to protect our children in this unique environment, we cannot accommodate the needs of students with chronic communicable diseases that pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others," said Connie McNamara, a spokesman for the Milton Hershey School, Reuters reported.
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"The reason is simple. We are serving children, and no child can be assumed to always make responsible decisions that protect the well being of others," McNamara said, Reuters reported. The school said they planned to have a judge weigh-in on their decision.
In the mid-1980s a similar case sprung up when Ryan White was expelled from his Indiana school for being HIV-positive, MSNBC reported. White fought and won his case.
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," said Goldfein, CNN reported.
The suit was filed on Wednesday, one day before the 30th World AIDS Day, timed to coincide with it on purpose, CNN reported.
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