Boy with mutated genes back in school

Nov. 6, 2012 at 4:19 PM
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PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 6 (UPI) -- A boy with a gene possibly dangerous to students with cystic fibrosis returned to his California school after officials yielded in moving him to another school.

Colman Chadam, 11, missed 11 days of class at Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto, Calif., while school administrators worked out a settlement with his parents over whether his genetic mutation, related to cystic fibrosis, posed a risk to other students with the often-fatal lung condition, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.

Palo Alto Unified School District officials told his parents a month ago he needed to transfer to another school, in a matter that gained national attention and raised ethical and safety questions about student medical information.

His parents, James and Jennifer Chadam, disclosed their son's genetic information, obtained during a newborn screening, to the school on enrollment forms, but argued he does not have the symptoms of cystic fibrosis and requires no special accommodation, the newspaper said.

While the disease is not contagious, those with cystic fibrosis can carry bacteria dangerous to others with the disease, and since the school has two other students with cystic fibrosis, Colman was advised by school officials to transfer to a school three miles away.

An accommodation was made after his parents took the school district to court. Colman stayed home until a settlement was reached, the newspaper said.

In an agreement announced Monday, Colman will stay at Jordan Middle School but switch classes to ensure he and two other students, siblings with cystic fibrosis, do not share facilities.

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