Suit says HIV-positive girl bullied

Nov. 21, 2008 at 11:30 PM

INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- An Indiana woman has sued her daughter's former school, saying teachers and staff allowed the HIV-positive girl to be bullied.

The mother withdrew her daughter from Westlane Middle School in Washington Township and is now teaching her at home, The Indianapolis Star reported. The lawsuit claims the Washington school district violated the Americans With Disabilities Act.

In court papers filed Tuesday, the mother, who was not identified by the Star, said her daughter's troubles began when the girl told a friend she had been diagnosed with the virus that causes AIDS. The friend told a sister and the news spread quickly from there.

On one occasion, the girl found a sign on her locker -- "No AIDS at Westlane" -- the suit said.

Jeanne White Ginder, whose son, Ryan White, became a national icon after he was banned from an Indiana school, said people fear the unknown. Ryan White died in 1990.

"In a way, we were fortunate because Ryan's identity was known at the beginning," Ginder said. "When the identity is a secret, all of a sudden, in one day, you can face hostility and discrimination."

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