NEWS:HIV TEEN FILES HARASSMENT SUIT
A generation ago Ryan White opened the nation’s eyes to discrimination against those with HIV. Now, more than 20 years after his public fight to go to public school an HIV positive teen and her mother are suing an Indianapolis School district. They say Washington Township Schools discriminated against her now 14-year-old daughter because of her HIV status.
The suit does not say the district revealed the girl’s health status. Instead, the teen told a good friend and the word got spread around school.In ’07 and ’08 the suit says other students harassed the girl repeatedly, once putting a sign on her locker that read “no AIDS at Westlane.”
Other students have her a nickname that referred to AIDS and called her by it at school functions.A staffer allegedly asked her during a game, “By the way I heard you have AIDS – is that true?” When her mother complained to the staffer, she allegedly said HIV could work for the team, “The other team would be afraid.”
In her suit filed in U.S. District Court, the mother says the school didn’t do enough to stop the harassment and sometimes ignored her complaints. This led to her daughter’s stress-related seizures.
Another parent told Eyewitness News, “I’ve found the school to be very helpful. If something was going on with the kids I found the principal to be very helpful.”
He and other parents are surprised at the allegations in the suit. “I found the teacher to be very helpful.”
Another said, “Very unusual they wouldn’t address the complaint, possibly try to do something about it. Better correspondence with the parent with the child.”
But one parent said she was frustrated at a different school in the township. She says, “In actuality, I’m a little bitter because I think my complaint was ignored as well so I’m probably not the best person to ask.”