January 21, 2010
Rockland, N.Y., Day Camp Found Guilty of HIV Discrimination
A U.S. district judge has ruled that the Deer Mountain Day Camp in Rockland County, New York, violated state and federal discrimination laws when it turned away a 10-year-old boy because he is HIV positive, reports The Journal News. The boy’s mother had attempted to enroll her son in the camp’s weeklong basketball academy in 2004.
According to the article, the boy’s pediatrician listed his HIV status and medications on the camp physical form. Two days before camp started, its director, Roberta Katz, denied the boy admission, telling his mother that she “did not have enough time to research whether the camp was appropriate” for him.
In his decision, Judge Donald Pogue noted that the camp had an experienced nurse on staff who “should have known that [the boy] did not pose ‘significant’ risks to other children.”
He added, “The court agrees that [camp directors] were obligated to protect other campers from a very serious, life-threatening viral infection. But this obligation does not excuse the [camp’s] actions when based on unsubstantiated fears, especially in the case of a decision partly made by a health care professional with both extensive experience with HIV and several days in which to confirm her medical opinions and educate other decision makers.”
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