You Must Take My Teen

Teen Boarding Schools and Admission Process

There is an interesting article today in a Hershey Newspaper. A mother is suing the school for boys for not allowing her son to be enrolled there. The school was founded back in 1909 as the Hershey Industrial School, for orphaned boys. The boy is a not a troubled teen, as a matter of fact, he is doing very well academically, and is a great athlete as well. The boy has been diagnosed with HIV and the school indicated they would not accept him. This is unfortunate on several different levels. It is unfortunate that there is so much fear surrounding the dreaded positive HIV diagnosis and Aids disease in general. It is also unfortunate that the boy may not be allowed to participate in the Hershey School, and their sports program. As devastating as this news must be to the boy and his family the school is probably unhappy about the situation also. The school has to be cautious not to do something that may jeopardize the entire school population. While the HIV virus is not passed from casual contact the lack of knowledge about the disease is more than likely at the base of the dispute. The bigger topic to be discussed then would be centered around the rights a boarding school or orphanage has to decline students or youth. Both sides of the story are equally compelling, and have equal merit.

How Far can They Go?

With a teen being denied admission into Hershey School for being HIV positive the next question is what other diagnosis will be denied? Not only in Hershey but in boarding schools across the country. If a student has other sexually transmitted diseases will they be denied admission? Will students all need to take a battery of tests prior to admission into any boarding school? What would the penalty be for a student not reporting a sexually transmitted disease he failed to mention during application process? What if the disease is not diagnosed until after the student is enrolled? What if the diagnosis or test performed was not accurate? It seems like the controversy will generate many more questions and problems than just a few isolated cases. It would seem that if a boarding school is private they should be able to set the list of minimum criteria, (including health requirements) that are mandatory to be enrolled?

Legal Problems

This then opens another line of questions. Does the private school open themselves up to a lawsuit of discrimination if they fail to accept a student that doesn’t meet their minimum enrollment guidelines? A wise Attorney once said, “Anyone can sue anyone for any reason”. The sad but true comment means virtually what it says. If someone decides to sue someone, they can do so. It may not even require the plaintiff to have any money. If they are able to find a hungry new attorney wanting to make a name for himself, he may take the case for a piece of the settlement. There are many law suits filed each year that result in a pretrial settlement. Some companies would rather settle than fight a case they may win, but at a much higher cost given the expense of legal fees alone. This does not take into consideration the negative publicity the company may be exposed to. Again even if they have done nothing wrong their image in the public eye could be tarnished.  If the company being sued has done nothing wrong, they will be forced to spend money to defend themselves rather than admit guilt. The company will also have to pay the plaintiff even if they don’t have a legitimate claim. Either way the company being sued loses.