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Three siblings kicked out of an Arkansas public school on suspicion of having HIV.

And here’s one more story for the day to leave you good and angry and motivated to make the world a better place:

The three siblings — two of whom have disabilities — are living with a foster family and 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 both HIV-positive, and told the foster family that none of the children could return to school until they provided proof that they don’t have the virus. When the kids were sent to school the next day anyway, they were “set aside until the foster parents picked them up,” according to a local news outlet.

The Disability Rights Center of Arkansas is accusing the school district of illegally discriminating against the children. They say that school officials have no right to demand medical testing at whim — particularly since, even if the children did test positive for HIV, they would still have the right to attend public school.

“The fact that the foster families have to provide documentation that the children are HIV negative before entering the school is unlawful and immoral,” the group said in a statement last week. “It stigmatizes individuals with disabilities — or their ‘perceived’ disabilities, as there is no indication these individuals have HIV. There is only an unlawful fear that they do.”

Oh, these kids might have been dealt a shitty hand in life that doesn’t affect other students?  Let’s make sure we deprive them of education on top of it in the screwed up name of compassion.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Loqi

    I don’t even know what the logic is behind this. Better not let HIV positive kids in school, lest a sexual predator teacher contract it when he abuses them?

    • Zinc Avenger

      Well the school has to pander to the extremely loud ignorance of the parents of the other children, who will no doubt raise an enormous stink at the idea of their perfect children going to school with even the possibility of HIV positive classmates. The fact that anyone can look up how you can’t catch HIV that way is irrelevant. The antivax farce has taught us that nothing is too stupid, evil, or irrelevant to be done in the name of protecting the children.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Including abusing other children :/ This is what pisses me off the most. Think of the children? Oh trust me, I am. All children deserve an education in an environment free from prejudice and stupidity, even and especially children who’ve been disadvantaged before.

    • Artor

      Well you know, they might spread it on the toilet seats, or by handling books. Or with the evil eye. You can’t be too careful.

    • tubi11

      To a lot of folks, HIV=queer. It seems like a subtle way to get rid of potential queers.

      It is galling that they couldn’t be kicked out even if they were positive. And I assume that if they are HIV+, HIPAA rules would prevent anyone at the school who knew, like the nurse, principal, etc, from making that information public. In fact, I suspect it’s already a HIPAA violation at this point by calling out these kids and forcing them to publicize their health information. I hope they have access to a good attorney.


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