Milton Hershey School Says It Will Accept HIV Student

EducationHershey (Dauphin, Pennsylvania)

Milton Hershey School officially puts an end to the controversy over the application of a student with HIV to attend the private school. 

 Milton Hershey School President Dr. Anthony Colistra issued the following statement:

“Milton Hershey School will no longer refuse admission to otherwise qualified students who have HIV. As a result of this decision, on July 12 I extended to the young man referred to as Abraham Smith, and his
mother, an offer to continue the enrollment process for fall classes.

“Our new process is already in effect. We are issuing a new Equal Opportunity Policy clearly stating that the School treats applicants with HIV no differently than any other applicants. We are also developing and providing mandatory training for staff and students on HIV issues and expanding our current training on
Universal Precautions.

“Our mission is to help children in need. It’s who we are as members of the Milton Hershey School community. And it’s what we have been doing for more than 100 years. I am a graduate of Milton Hershey School. It is the place that nurtured me and raised me. I want Abraham Smith to have that
experience, if he still so desires.

“Although we believed that our decisions regarding Abraham Smith’s application were appropriate, we acknowledge that the application of federal law to our unique residential setting was a novel and difficult issue. The U.S. Department of Justicerecently advised us that it disagrees with how we evaluated the
risks and applied the law. We have decided to accept this guidance.

 “I am sure this has been a difficult situation for Abraham Smith and his family. I publicly extend a heartfelt apology to him and to his family for the impact of our initial decision, as I did privately in my July 12 letter. We hope to welcome this young man to our School family in the near future.

“The Milton Hershey School staff are among the most loving and caring people anywhere. I have witnessed the great work they do providing not only an education but nurturing to our students. As they always do, our staff will enthusiastically welcome all students, and continue to transform their lives.”

Milton S. Hershey School in Derry Township, Dauphin County was established by Milton S. and Catherine Hershey in 1909 for white orphan boys. It began enrolling in minorities in 1968 and females in 1976.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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