“…a direct threat to the health and safety of others.”

Wednesday’s post is early because I ran into something that needed immediate attention.

Here are a few news articles, all the same story from different sources.

The school in question is Milton Hershey School in Hershey, PA. Their statement on the matter is posted here.

From my point of view, not admitting someone because of a life-threatening, incurable illness, whose transmission is controllable, is thoroughly inexcusable.

Many of you know that I worked at two boarding schools. Both of them had students, either currently or in the fairly recent past, who had major blood-transmissible illnesses. Sometimes it was HIV, sometimes Hepatitis C or other things. I was never informed as to who it was, because it was none of my business. As a teacher, I received First Aid and CPR training. I was trained in what to do, the short version being to treat all blood spills as potentially infectious. We had disinfectant sprays available in many places. We had latex gloves and breathing masks for CPR in our first aid kits. We all, as teachers, understood the danger.

Milton Hershey is claiming that this student presents a “direct threat” because of the possibility of sexual contact with other students. Leaving aside whether said 13-year-old student is a total studmuffin whose raw sexuality will draw in partners and dazzle them with… you get the point… I’m going to let you in on a secret.

There is no teenager who has AIDS and doesn’t “get it.”

I’ve never met a teenager who has AIDS, cancer, Hep C, or the like, who doesn’t understand at a fundamental level what’s going on in his or her life.

None of them want someone else to have what they have.

I have little doubt that this affair will not end in Milton Hershey’s favor, either in court or out of court. It will probably not even take any input from the rest of us to make this end as it should. Nevertheless, this wasn’t something I could just let slide without comment.


About Colin Fredericks

By day I help to create online courses at HarvardX. By night I write roleplaying games.

Posted on December 6, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Yeah, wow. There’s a reason we’re taught universal precautions as part of employee training. This also sounds like a classic case of “school administrator has no training in school law.”

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