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$700K settlement reached for HIV student

Sept. 12, 2012 at 4:22 PM

HERSHEY, Pa., Sept. 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department and the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania have reached a $700,000 settlement with a school that refused to admit a student with HIV.

The Milton Hershey School of Hershey, Pa., allegedly refused to consider admitting the child, identified by the pseudonym Abraham Smith, because he carries the human immunodeficiency virus, the department said Wednesday,

In a statement, the department said under the settlement agreement the private K-12 school "is required to pay $700,000 to Smith and his mother, adopt and enforce a policy prohibiting discrimination and [require] equal opportunity for students with disabilities, including those with HIV, in the school's programs and services, and to provide training to staff and administrators on the requirements of the [Americans with Disabilities Act]."

"This is a very significant case, affirming the rights of persons with HIV, and we applaud the school for working so cooperatively to amend its position on this matter," said Zane David Memeger, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The ADA requires public accommodations, including private schools such as the Milton Hershey School, to provide individuals with disabilities, including people with HIV, equal access to goods, services, privileges, accommodations, facilities, advantages and accommodations, the department said.

Neither the department statement nor the settlement agreement filed in federal court disclosed the age of the student or how he contracted HIV.

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