Local disability rights advocates are accusing the Pea Ridge School District of kicking students out of school because of fear over HIV exposure.
The Disability Rights Center of Arkansas sent out a statement Friday afternoon calling the school district’s refusal to allow three students to continue attending school“unlawful”, saying the students were being denied the right to attend school until documentation proves they are not HIV-positive.
Superintendent Rick Neal told 5NEWS he had no statement to give and that he could “neither confirm nor deny the story.”
The Disability Rights Center said the case involves three school-aged siblings, two of whom have disabilities.
“The fact that the foster families have to provide documentation that the children are HIV negative before entering the school is unlawful and immoral,” according to the center’s statement.
While reviewing records over the summer, school district officials found an evaluation on a boy stating that the mother and sister were both HIV-positive. Administrators met Monday and notified the foster family of the children that the students could not return to school until documentation could be provided to the school proving the children were HIV-negative, according to the Disability Rights Center.
The children were sent to school the next day anyway, and they were set aside until the foster parents picked them up. The superintendent allegedly told one of the foster parents that the children could no longer return to school.
The center said one of the children was unable to compete in his first football game of the year because of the situation.
Stay with 5NEWS for more information as it becomes available.