Three siblings have been removed from an Arkansas public school because administrators suspect those students may be infected with HIV, Think Progress reports.
The three siblings currently live with a foster family and are attending the Pea Ridge Public School District. But school district officials recently found documentation that suggested the birth mother and one of the kids are HIV-positive. Officials then told the foster family that the children could not return to school until proof that they do not have the virus was provided.
The students were sent school the next day but only to be set aside until the foster family picked them up.
Now, the Disability Rights Center of Arkansas is accusing the school district of illegally discriminating against the children.
“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,” Executive Director of DRC Tom Masseau said “The fact that the foster families have to provide documentation that the children are HIV negative before entering the school is unlawful and immoral. It stigmatizes individuals with disabilities or their perceived disabilities as there is no indication these individuals have HIV.”
The three students, two of whom have disabilities, were attending the school with limited supports, says the DRC. One of them is only allowed to attend school for two hours a day, NWA Homepage reports.
The Pea Ridge School District issued a statement on Monday acknowledging the removal of the three students until proof of the test results was provided.
“This rare requirement is due to the certain actions and behaviors that place students and staff at risk,” the statement said. “The district respects the privacy and confidentiality of all students… It’s very unfortunate that information regarding this situation is being released by outside organizations.”
Source: Think Progress, NWAHomepage.com