By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In the latest court papers, the Milton Hershey School is asking a judge to rule that it didn’t violate the Americans with Disabilities Act in denying admission to an HIV-positive 13-year-old boy. The initial federal civil lawsuit was filed on November 30.
Philadelphia based AIDS Law Project Executive Director Ronda Goldfein represents the teen and his mother, who live in Delaware County. She said he’s intelligent, motivated, healthy and has no behavioral problems.
She contends the school is denying him an educational opportunity because of ignorance and fear about HIV and AIDS.
“His status created a risk for the entire student body, because the school acknowledges that they are unable to control teenaged sexuality at the school,” said Goldfein.
The school, which educates low-income and socially disadvantaged pre-K through 12th graders, said it’s prohibited from informing the community of his HIV positive status, and the ‘risk rose to a direct threat to the health and safety of others.’
The students live in homes in groups of 10-14.
Because of his age, the boy’s real name is being withheld. In court papers, he is known as Abraham Smith.