Main | Sunday, September 15, 2013

ARKANSAS: School Suspends Three Siblings Until They Prove They Aren't HIV+

Arkansas television reports that a local school district won't let three siblings return to classes until their foster parents provide documentation proving that the children are not HIV+.
“The actions taken by the Superintendent of Pea Ridge School District are appalling and is reminiscent of times past and the case of Ryan White,” says Tom Masseau, Executive Director of the Disability Rights Center. “The fact that the foster families have to provide documentation that the children are HIV negative before entering the school is unlawful and immoral. Further, the fact the school’s attorney authorized this unlawful act is at best appalling. It stigmatizes individuals with disabilities or their “perceived” disabilities as there is no indication these individuals have HIV. There is only an unlawful fear that they do. When contacted about the issue, Pea Ridge Superintendent Rick Neal would not confirm or deny the allegations but said they would be prepared to speak on the matter at a later time. In a letter sent to parents, the district cites district and Arkansas School Boards Association policy 4.34, in part, as the reasons for their decision. They also say they consulted the school district attorney and a private law firm.
Two of the children have other disabilities.

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