AIDS Victim Returns to School in Indiana; Some Pupils Leave
Teen-age AIDS victim Ryan White returned to school Thursday after a judge threw out a temporary order barring his attendance, and some parents took their children out of class in protest.
The ruling by Clinton Circuit Judge Jack R. O’Neill was the latest move in the legal fight that has kept the 14-year-old Kokomo youth out of classes for all but one day of this school year.
Ryan, who contracted acquired immune deficiency syndrome through blood treatments for hemophilia in December, 1984, has been barred from classes since last summer.
Parents of Ryan’s classmates at Western Middle School had obtained the temporary injunction on Feb. 21, the one day Ryan attended classes after a local health officer said that he posed no threat to his classmates.
Ryan was whisked away from the court hearing Thursday and taken to school. When asked if he was ready to finish the school year after monitoring classes until now through a computer link, he said: “Yeah, I guess.”
Parents opposed to Ryan’s return responded by immediately pulling their children from classes. And the lawyer for parents fighting Ryan’s presence at the school said the decision would be appealed.
Principal Ron Colby said about 27 of the school’s 364 students were taken home by their parents after it was announced that Ryan would return to classes.
Ryan’s mother, Jeanne White, said that at least 15 students were in the school office waiting to be picked up by their parents when she brought her son to school.
“They’re very cordial,” White said of the other parents. “These parents have fought hard, just like I’ve fought hard. I understand their concerns.”
Still Sees Threat
Rita Chandler said she believes there still is a chance that her daughter, Amy, could contract AIDS despite assurances from health officials that the deadly disease cannot be spread by casual contact.
“I don’t think they can guarantee there isn’t a threat,” she said.
O’Neill said there was no evidence of a threat of irreparable harm to Ryan’s classmates that would justify the temporary injunction.