the Archdiocesan Board of Education, Goa.
“It is time for the School Education Department and the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights to take a firm decision on this...I am taking up the issue in the Assembly as this incident should not become a precedent for other schools in the state and even in other states... The parents want us to give in writing that their children will not be HIV-positive in future. It is an unreasonable demand,” said Subhash Phal Dessai, BJP MLA from Sanguem.
Anil Powar, Director of Education, Goa, said they could not stop any parent from protesting or withdrawing their children from a school. “Our job was to instruct the school that they should follow the Supreme Court’s order and not deny admission to any HIV-positive student,” he said.
“We called a meeting of the school authorities, the nuns from the children’s home, and education department officials last Friday. We even conducted a public hearing of the panchayat of the village, parents and others. We have ensured that the 23 students will not be expelled. We will now submit a report to the state government stating that this mistake should not be repeated. The schools must keep the identity of the disadvantaged students confidential. They cannot deny them admission despite protests,” said Sameera Qazi, chairperson of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Goa.
In March, the Supreme Court had issued notices to the central and state governments following a petition against discrimination of HIV-positive children in schools.