, WASHINGTON, Sept 13 – The US government has fined a private school for refusing to accept a 13-year-old with HIV, saying it violated a federal anti-discrimination law, the Justice Department said.
The charity-funded school in Pennsylvania said it had “discontinued processing” Abraham Smith’s application when it learned he had the virus that causes AIDS, according to a copy of the legal settlement released Wednesday.
The school, which serves disadvantaged children 4-17 years old, said the decision was the result of an “analysis of potential risks to other students and the legal rights of Abraham Smith or other applicants with HIV.”
The Justice Department said that while the school “did not act with malice or animus” toward Smith, it was unable to show how admitting him or other HIV-positive students would endanger others.
The government concluded that the school had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and ordered the school to pay $700,000 to the Smith family and an additional $15,000 in fines.
As part of the settlement, the government has pledged not to take legal action against the school and the school has pledged not to exclude people with disabilities, including HIV, the Justice Department said.