HARRISBURG – December 8, 2011 – State Senator Vincent J. Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) is calling on Milton Hershey School officials to meet with him to discuss their refusal to admit an HIV-AIDS positive student.

“I am concerned that admission to the school (located in Hershey, Dauphin County) was denied due to the student being HIV-AIDS positive,” Hughes said.  “Given the advances in HIV-AIDS awareness and treatment, I thought we were well beyond this kind of knee-jerk reaction.

“Over the years, court cases have been reinforced by a general social acceptance of HIV-AIDS positive students. There is no justification for this kind of arbitrary action.”

Hughes sent a letter to Robert Cavanaugh, chairman-elect of the Milton Hershey School’s board of managers, asking to meet with board members to discuss their protocols for dealing with HIV-AIDS students.

Nationally recognized for his work on HIV-AIDS issues, Hughes stated that the school’s decision to refuse admittance was “astounding” and “disheartening.”   He said the board’s decision was “uninformed.”

Hughes, who serves as Democratic Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the board’s decision “not only serves to misinform the public about advancements in addressing the virus, but also sets the awareness of HIV-AIDS back 20 years.”

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