Banned from school

PHOTO: Banned from school

She is just six years old and she was thrown out of an elementary school.

He is 13 and was denied admission to a Philadelphia school. Both the children have a connection to HIV, the virus which causes Aids.

The Indonesian girl's enrolment in the Jakarta school was cancelled because her father is HIV-positive.

The Philadelphia teen has HIV.

The two cases go on to show that despite a worldwide campaign, discrimination against HIV patients and their families still continue.

The girl's mother, Ms Leonnie Merinsca, told the Jakarta Globe yesterday that the school was demanding that the girl submit to blood tests to prove she was free of the disease.

The girl was informed by SMS that she was not welcome in the school because other parents had objected to her presence in the school.

In an interview with Metro TV, Mr Paul Yosa Handoko, education division head of the school's foundation, said he would only apologise for sending the family the news via SMS.

The girl would still have to undergo a blood test to have her enrolment ban reconsidered.

"All we can do as parents is to find a school that guarantees equal treatment for my child," Ms Leonnie said.

The girl's father, Mr Fajar Jasmin Sugandhi, has demanded that the school board issue a formal apology to his daughter via media outlets, Jakarta Post reported.

He said it was no longer about him or his daughter but about human rights.

In the US, a private boarding school connected with the Hershey chocolate company said it was trying to protect other students when it denied admission to a Philadelphia-area teenager because he is HIV-positive.

The Aids Law Project of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit on behalf of the boy in a Philadelphia district court, claiming that the Milton Hershey School for disadvantaged students violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

School officials acknowledged that the boy was denied admission because of his medical condition.

They said they believed it was necessary to protect the health and safety of the 1,850 others enrolled in the institution, AP reported.

Lawyer Ronda Goldfein said her client requires no special accommodation.

He is an honour-roll student and athlete who controls his HIV with medication that does not affect his school schedule.

"The sooner we can get this matter resolved and get my student into an appropriate academic setting, the better," she said.

This article was first published in The New Paper.