November 24, 2008
Bullied HIV-Positive Teen Sues Indianapolis School
School officials did little to stop harassment of a 14-year-old HIV-positive girl, according to a lawsuit filed against the school district and reported in the Indianapolis Star. Because of the name-calling, the student withdrew from the school.
The federal lawsuit filed against Washington Township Schools states that the middle schooler was found in 2006 to have the virus and confided her status to a friend in March 2007. Soon after, word spread across the school and the bullying began.
The lawsuit claims that school officials were informed of the harassment on several occasions but did little to stop it. In September, the student withdrew from the school to be homeschooled.
Though he couldn’t comment on this case, Superintendent James Mervilde shared that since Ryan White’s case the district has been more “straightforward” in its policies that prohibit bullying and harassment.
Ryan White was an HIV-positive 13-year-old who drew national attention after being banned in 1985 from a school in Kokomo, Indianapolis. He died in 1990.
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