June 16, 2008
Lawmakers Mass Against South Carolina School HIV Notification Rule
In the aftermath of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s veto of a bill that would have eliminated the state’s current requirement that school faculty and administration be notified of any HIV-positive students enrolled in their schools, the bill’s legislative sponsors say they will attempt to override the veto, according to the Columbia, South Carolina, newspaper The State (thestate.com, 6/13).
The bill would have ended the mandated notification of a student’s HIV-positive status unless the student had come into contact with another person’s blood through, for example, a fight or sporting event. Sanford issued a veto message on June 11, saying that the required notification of all HIV-positive students should be restored. “In the interest of health and safety for all children, DHEC should continue to notify the proper school officials if a child has AIDS/HIV,” he wrote.
The bill’s sponsors say they will attempt the override later this month when the general assembly reconvenes. For the bill to pass, two thirds of both the house and senate would have to vote to override the governor.
“What we’re talking about is violating someone’s right to medical privacy based on their age and based on one health condition,” said a supporter of the removal bill, Bambi Gaddist of the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council. “The question is why do (school officials) need access to this information?”
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