Aug 18, 2011 at 07:56am IST

11 months on, HIV+ kids back in school

CHENNAI: The 22 HIV + students, who were expelled from Perunkaranai Panchayat Union Middle School, Kancheepuram, went back to school on Wednesday even as local villagers expressed apprehension about these children being readmitted to the school.
These children  from the ARIAS Home of Hope, were expelled by the management in September 2010 following a hue and cry raised by the local community about their condition.
In May, a PIL was filed by Radhakrishnan, a member of HIV Positive Network to readmit these students.
On Tuesday, the first Bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice TS Sivagnanam dismissed the case after hearing the counter statement submitted by the Kancheepuram Dristrict  Elementary Educational Officer that these children were readmitted into the school on June 20.
Though the children were readmitted on June 20, when they went to the school, the parents of the children from the local community who are studying in the school, again expressed apprehension that their wards would get infected by the HIV + kids. This forced the ARIAS Home management to decide against sending these children to the school again.
Rani, Chief Educational Officer, Kancheepuram told Express, “The children were readmitted by the school on June 20. But the parents of the other children did not want the kids back in school and raised the issue again threatening to pull their children out the school if these HIV+ children continued to study in this school.”
After this, the education department, along with local administration and the health department, conducted sentisation programmes for the local community to accept these HIV+ children in the school, added the CEO.
The CEO said that since the court had granted relief, the department would ensure that the HIV+  children went to the mainstream school and that their education was not affected.
Paneer,  Manager, ARIAS Home of Hope, said, “Even after the court order, we were very apprehensive about sending the children to school today.”
“However, after the headmaster and the teachers ensured that it will be safe for the children, the students attended school today, without any issues.”
Dr Ashok Prabha, Chief Programme Officer, Southern Region, Hope Foundation, said, “We  will continue to work with the community to make things comfortable for these children.”
Yellappan, Panchayat President, Perunkaranai, said, “I have no problem with the HIV+ children who are studying  in the school. We are working to sensitise  the parents of  other children from the community to accept these  HIV+ children as they still have their apprehensions.”