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Uttar Pradesh: Year-and-half later, school takes in HIV+ boy, considers waiving fee

The boy’s parents, who are physically challenged and also HIV positive, have been facing “social boycott” for the past three years and had been unable to get their eight-year-old son re-admitted in the school.

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A PRIVATE school in Ghazipur, which had earlier allegedly stopped a six-year-old HIV-positive boy from attending classes one-and-half years ago, on Tuesday re-admitted him following intervention of the district administration.

The boy’s parents, who are physically challenged and also HIV positive, have been facing “social boycott” for the past three years and had been unable to get their eight-year-old son re-admitted in the school. The parents had alleged that they have since been turned away by both private and public schools over claims that admitting their child would bring “bad reputation” and make other parents to stop their children from coming to school.

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Recently, the district administration had ordered an inquiry into the matter. On Tuesday, Ghazipur Chief Development Officer Arvind Kumar Pandey said: “The probe report has stated that the parents are availing facilities like pension for the physically challenged… the family is also getting foodgrain on its BPL card. We have now got the boy re-admitted in the school.”

He added: “During investigation, the school principal claimed that the boy was not expelled. He said the boy had a serious injury in his leg and the parents were advised to get him treated before sending him to school.”

However, when contacted, Principal Subhash Chandra Chauhan claimed the boy has never been a student in their school. “I allowed the boy to be admitted to Class I after I was approached by the district administration… Admission formalities are over and he will start attending classes from the next session beginning April. We are considering not charging the family with any fee,” he added.

“We are starting an awareness drive in and around the locality. We would educate people about HIV so that no other person has to face such social boycott,” said social worker Brij Bhushan Dubey.

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The family had first learnt of the disease in 2011. As the news spread, the school allegedly started putting pressure on the father to stop sending the boy — who was in Class I — to the school. “After regular pressure, I stopped sending my son,” the father had alleged.

His wife said they approached the school principal a few months later and requested him that their son be allowed to continue his study. “My son attended classes for a few days but would be made to sit separately from others. A few days later, school authorities again started forcing us to not send him to school because other parents had threatened them. They said that because of my son, the school was getting a bad reputation. We never sent him to school after that,” she said. However, their elder son, a student of Class V at the same school, continues to attend classes.

The family said they had also contacted government schools in their area but “all of them refused admission.”

First published on: 30-03-2016 at 12:10:47 am
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