Sunday, September 15, 2013

AR school supe Mike Neal demanded kids rumored to be HIV+ submit test results to school, then refused a KNWA interview

Rick Neal, Superintendent of Arkansas'
Pea Ridge School District
Neal's excuse for his behavior was a Pea Ridge School District policy banning students with communicable diseases.
     Obviously, that should mean casually communicable, which HIV is not, which is why the Arkansas Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control do not list HIV as "communicable."
     Neal's letter cited his school district policy and Arkansas School Boards Association policy. The school district says it consulted private and school district attorneys.
     But Neal's actions clearly violate the Ryan White Care Act and probably expose the district to a lawsuit.
     “The actions taken by the Superintendent of Pea Ridge School District are appalling and is reminiscent of times past and the case of Ryan White,” says Tom Masseau, Executive Director of DRC [Arkansas' Disability Rights Center].
     “The fact that the foster families have to provide documentation that the children are HIV negative before entering the school is unlawful and immoral. Further, the fact the school’s attorney authorized this unlawful act is at best appalling. It stigmatizes individuals with disabilities or their “perceived” disabilities as there is no indication these individuals have HIV. There is only an unlawful fear that they do.

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