Hershey Settles HIV Discrimination Case

Milton Hershey School is to pay $700,000 to a Delaware County boy denied admission over HIV status

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The Milton Hershey School has reached a settlement this week in an HIV discrimination lawsuit over an earlier decision to deny admission to an HIV-positive student from Delaware County.

AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania (ALPP), the group representing the boy, reports that he and “his mother will receive $700,000 from the Milton Hershey School in a federal AIDS-discrimination lawsuit settlement.” The school also will pay $15,000 in civil penalties assessed by the U.S. Department of Justice, which investigated the complaint and concluded that the school violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“The settlement also requires the school to provide HIV training for its staff and students and to pay an undisclosed amount of attorney’s fees to the AIDS Law Project,” says ALPP.

The school also issued a public apology last month and Milton Hershey President Anthony J. Colistra offered to reconsider the boy’s application, and said that the school would implement a new Equal Opportunity Policy which would treat applicants with HIV “no differently than any other applicants.”

“We are pleased to learn that the Hershey School has had to answer for its illegal and immoral HIV/AIDS discrimination and thank the AIDS Law Project for its tireless work on this teen’s case,” says Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which contributed $50,000 to the legal defense of the student when the case was first announced back in December 2011. “No doubt advocacy aided this young man’s quest for justice. Advocates from AHF and many other groups and individuals spoke out against this repugnant discrimination by Hershey through protests, actions, letter writing campaigns and other advocacy efforts, and we vow to continue to do so when such discrimination arises.”

There is no word on whether the student will accept admission to the school.