PA: School to pay student $700,000 for HIV discrimination

PA: School to pay student $700,000 for HIV discrimination

Back in December of last year I wrote about the Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania
and its denial of admission to a student, known under the pseudonym
Abraham Smith, over his HIV-positive status. Since that time, the
Department of Justice and the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania became
involved, filing a lawsuit with the boy’s parents and charging the
school with violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The school
reversed its decision last month.

Smith, now a 14-year-old ninth-grader, was denied
admission last year to the eighth-grade class at the Milton Hershey
School, founded by the chocolate magnate and his wife. School
administrators said the honor roll student, who has HIV, presented a
“direct threat” to the health and safety of other students, according to
a press release announcing the settlement, which also requires the
school to conduct HIV training for its staff and students.
“Children should not be denied educational opportunities
simply because they have HIV,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney
general for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department, in
a press release. “This settlement sends a clear message that unlawful discrimination against persons with HIV or AIDS will not be tolerated.”
The settlement concludes a federal HIV discrimination lawsuit brought against the school by the nonprofit AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania.
The AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania reports that the
Smith and his mother have decided not to enroll Smith at the Hershey
school but will instead use the settlement to cover other educational
expenses.
Via the Advocate