AIDS/HIV | Discrimination | Education | News | Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania School Denies Admission to HIV-Positive Student: VIDEO


The tipster who sent in this clip asks, "Am I deluded or is it 1985 and I didn't know it?"


NBC Philadelphia reports on The Milton Hershey School's denial of admission:

The private boarding school doesn’t deny that they rejected the boy’s admission because of concerns for the health and safety of fellow students. They even petitioned to have the court review the case, they said.

Milton Hershey School released a statement Wednesday saying in part that “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.”

(thanks, kevin)

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  1. Didn't the Americans with Disabilities Act make this ilegal?

    Posted by: gaylib | Dec 1, 2011 12:15:11 PM

  2. From

    III. Public Accommodations

    1. Q: What is a public accommodation?

    A: A public accommodation is a private entity that owns,
    operates, leases, or leases to a place of public accommodation.
    Places of public accommodation include a wide range of entities,
    such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors offices,
    dentists offices, hospitals, retail stores, health clubs,
    museums, libraries, private schools, and day care centers.
    Private clubs and places run by religious organizations are not
    considered places of public accommodation.

    2. Q: What constitutes discrimination?

    A: Discrimination is the failure to give a person with a
    disability the equal opportunity to use or enjoy the public
    accommodation s goods, services, or facilities.

    Posted by: gaylib | Dec 1, 2011 12:17:33 PM

  3. If you catch HIV at school, you're NOT doing school-related ignorant is this school board?

    Posted by: Steve | Dec 1, 2011 12:18:07 PM

  4. The ADA might cover this, unless the Court concludes that letting him in and providing reasonable accommodations for him and other students was an "undue burden."

    The Court has concluded that HIV status is a disability, however, the risk of transfer to others may also let them uphold this school's decision due to "threat of harm."

    tl;dr: It's a toss up, and very reliant on who the judge is, if the suit goes to trial.

    Posted by: Mike8787 | Dec 1, 2011 12:34:36 PM

  5. Lawsuit... now!

    Posted by: Michel Filion | Dec 1, 2011 1:08:45 PM

  6. No toss-up. Crystal clear ADA violation. What undue burden, when other boarding schools apparently manage this fine?

    Posted by: Charley | Dec 1, 2011 1:13:36 PM

  7. This kid will own the school in a few months.

    Posted by: Kevin | Dec 1, 2011 1:14:05 PM

  8. Steve: It's a boarding school (meaning the students live/sleep there) and you know how creative (pre-)adolescent boys can be when the lights are out. In that context, assplay IS a de facto school-related activity. They assume this student won't decline an opportunity to satisfy his curiosity with the other boys, and they know all the other parents will think the same thing.

    Fear is not rational.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Dec 1, 2011 1:20:16 PM

  9. Hmm, are they Testing the Blood of ALL thier students? I mean, who knows what some other student my have - that they, or thier parents didn't reveal????

    Posted by: Gay American | Dec 1, 2011 1:26:24 PM

  10. @Gay American - I actually know a couple who adopted a son. He is 13 years old and HIV+. His adoptive (closeted) dad has told me that they have never informed his school that their son has HIV nor have they told their son that he has HIV. All the information he's been given is that he has an illness and must take medication. I was speechless when he told me this information.

    Posted by: Randy | Dec 1, 2011 1:54:16 PM

  11. @Randy: I assume your friends have told their kid not to become blood brothers with any of his friends? That even though all teenagers need to be careful about protected sex, he needs to be **really** careful?

    They need to tell the boy he has HIV. It is reckless not to, and if he transmits the virus to anyone because of his ignorance, his parents can and should be held legally liable.

    Posted by: BABH | Dec 1, 2011 2:04:38 PM

  12. @BABH: I wouldn't call these people friends. The conversation came about when I disclosed my status and the father told me about his adoptive son. I agree with you 100 percent and voiced my opinion but father thinks he knows best.

    Posted by: Randy | Dec 1, 2011 2:14:42 PM

  13. Here is the School's FB page. Share your thoughts there, since the majority of comments are trending in
    favor the school's decision

    Posted by: Anjouan | Dec 1, 2011 2:32:38 PM

  14. it is a private school BUT if they get ONE penny of government money, ADA kicks in;

    the true shame is that in 2011 the ignorance still exists...

    Posted by: mike/ | Dec 1, 2011 3:24:23 PM

  15. World AIDS Day, observed December 1 every year, Yahoo mentions NOTHING. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Posted by: M. Scott Hernandez | Dec 1, 2011 3:38:17 PM

  16. Direct threat? Seriously? Unless their students are in the habit of bleeding on each other, there is no threat. It's like it never stopped being 1982 or something. This is not just fear, it's bigotry and it's also illegal under the ADA.

    Posted by: JWerner | Dec 1, 2011 5:26:52 PM

  17. This is a really tricky situation- on one hand, you don't want to exclude anybody, but you also have to make sure the health and safety of everybody is protected- and accidents do happen.
    If this was any other school, public or private, they couldn't discriminate or exclude him; however, it is a boarding school, and as someone mentioned earlier, boys horse around- whether its sexually or physically when there aren't any adults to supervise.

    And you can't really say "Well, let everyone know, and they'll be careful," because, like it or not, the boy will have a different experience there because of how people would treat him.

    And- nothing against the boy- but how did he become HIV+ ? That wasn't mentioned, and if he contract it sexually- at age 13 or younger no less- that does have something to say about someone's behavior. If he received it through blood transfusion or any other accidental way, that should also be taken into consideration.

    Could he be given a private room perhaps? I understand there's some stigma attached, but its people's lives you're discussing- this isn't a common cold or headlice. You can't ask the child to say " I promise I will be careful" and then engages in whatever- and someone else contracts it.

    That said, I hope they find a good or better place for this guy- he's very brave to be doing what he's doing.

    Posted by: scott | Dec 1, 2011 5:27:52 PM

  18. The Milton Hershey school is one of the richest institutions in the world with $6 billion in assets resulting from Milton Hershey, founder of Hershey's Foods, donating all of his shares, controlling interest in the company, substantial real estate, and other assets to the trust upon the death of his wife in 1915. He did it because they couldn't have kids and he wanted to create an institution that took poor orphans, educated them, fed them, clothed them, housed them, and endowed them with all the necessary tools to reach adulthood with an enormous head start to go out and be self-sufficient, following their dreams.

    I'd be surprised if it takes public funds. They have no need to and would want to retain complete control for situations such as this. I can't imagine the ADA applying given there self-funded, private status. The fact they are asking for court review to confirm their position means that a lot of very rich, very powerful lawyers are convinced they will win.

    It sucks for the kid but I don't see how he has any recourse here.

    Posted by: John John | Dec 1, 2011 5:45:09 PM

  19. "their" not "there" sorry for typo

    Posted by: John John | Dec 1, 2011 5:47:17 PM

  20. UM to “Scott” IN FACT IF YOU LISTEN TO THE REPORT THE KID HAS BEEN POZ ALL HIS LIFE IE BORN THAT WAY. So your pious little remark condemning him if he did indeed become HIV through sex at and early age is moot, WAX OUT OF EARS I WOULD SUGGEST. Also I’d suggest you educate yourself on the likelihood of HIV transmission in patients undergoing treatment in 2011. Have a great day.

    Posted by: NE Rich | Dec 1, 2011 6:00:03 PM

  21. Q. Does the ADA allow public accommodations to take safety factors into consideration in providing services to individuals with disabilities?

    A. The ADA expressly provides that a public accommodation may exclude an individual, if that individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be mitigated by appropriate modifications in the public accommodation's policies or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids. A public accommodation will be permitted to establish objective safety criteria for the operation of its business; however, any safety standard must be based on objective requirements rather than stereotypes or generalizations about the ability of persons with disabilities to participate in an activity.

    The kid has a good case, and we have a reason to eat less chocolate.

    Posted by: Ellipse Kirk | Dec 1, 2011 7:04:12 PM

  22. I am a parent of a graduate of the Milton Hershey School. I can assure you the school takes absolutely NO MONEY from the government and does not receive one dime in property tax from the homeowners in Hershey/ Derry Twp. The school has a 7 billion trust which it uses to house, educate, clothe, feed, and provide for 1850 students ages Pre-k to high school senior. The school also assists graduates with college expenses after high school. According to records, 88% of the class of 2011, which includes my son, have started their freshman year of college. I expect that percentage will increase after the spring semester at colleges across the country begin as some graduates delay entry until the spring semester. I would ask that before anyone make another post criticizing the decisions made by MHS, they please take the time to read, in full, all 11 pages of the mother's complaint as well as the brief MHS had prepared and was planning on filing with the courts asking them for direction just prior to the mother filing her lawsuit. Not until you are educated with that information and have all the facts as known to the courts can anyone make an educated statement or opinion.

    Posted by: Michelle | Dec 2, 2011 12:47:11 AM

  23. Michelle, Simply shut th up. Why are you on a Gay site? If you're a Hetero mother with children. Who sent you here to troll? Gov Corbett?

    Posted by: CHRIS DACHOCOLATEBEARCUB | Dec 2, 2011 2:17:23 AM

  24. Public funding is not part of the definition of the public accommodation. That is a red herring.

    Posted by: JDSwell | Dec 2, 2011 5:07:31 AM

  25. My oldest has a blood related illness, a form of hemophilia, and your options become limited for schooling because of the type of insurance a school would have to hold to accept them.

    The insurance would be higher for schools that accept children with communicable diseases and/or diseases like my child has because the potential for litigation is high should an injury occur.

    Not every denial of service is due to some sort of puritanical disposition. In most cases, it boils down to money.

    My child can't give anyone her disease, but she's still denied quite often because of insurance costs.

    Posted by: Rin | Dec 2, 2011 9:42:10 AM

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