Lawsuit says Milton Hershey School rejected HIV-positive boy

Posted: November 30, 2011

A 13-YEAR-OLD Delaware County honor-roll student was denied admission to the Milton Hershey School, which serves low-income students, because he's HIV positive, a federal discrimination lawsuit filed Wednesday in Philadelphia alleges.

The complaint came the day before World AIDS Day, pointed out Ronda Goldfein, executive director of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, which filed the suit.

The boy sought admission to the Hershey school's residential program for this school year, according to the complaint, but was told that his application would not be considered because "[the student's] documented needs are beyond the scope of the Milton Hershey School programs."

The student met all the other requirements for the program, which is free and serves low-income students from age 4 to 15, the suit said. It added that the rejection caused him "severe and lasting emotional and psychological harm."

The suit seeks immediate admission to the school for the boy and compensatory damages for him and his mother.

It also requested that the school implement a policy to prevent further discrimination related to HIV status, as well as mandatory sensitivity training about the illness for staff members.

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