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HIV+ boy out of play school

A four-year-old HIV positive boy was thrown out of a government-run pre-school in Hyderabad.

india Updated: Dec 13, 2006 02:05 IST
Ashok Das

A four-year-old HIV positive boy was thrown out of a government-run pre-school in the Andhra Pradesh capital.

Barely two days into school, the teacher at the Venkateswar pre-school at Subashnagar locality called the child Vamsikrishna and told him that he need not come to school from Wednesday. Vamsikrishna went home crying and complained to his mother.

“The teacher told me that she could not allow my son to attend the school as parents of other children were objecting and threatened to remove their children from the school. She asked me to admit my child to some other school,” mother Jayalakshmi said.

The school, part of the Sarva Sikhsya Aviyan, has 30 students. It is managed by one Anganwadi worker-cum-teacher. The teacher did not object at the time of admission, rather she was happy that another child had been sent to school in a locality where very few children went to school.

But she soon learnt from the local residents that the child and his mother were HIV positive and gave him the marching order.

On record, however, she said that the “child was mischievous and beat up other children”.

Jayalakshmi’s is a tragic tale. Married much against her wishes at the age of 16 to an alcoholic toddy seller, she was widowed by 21. But before she could recover from the tragedy, she found out that her husband had infected her and their son with HIV. She tried to commit suicide, but a network of HIV positive people helped change her mind. She now works in cardboard factory for Rs 1,400 per month.

But the odds are heavy. Her parents, which whom she lived, have asked her to move out of the house.

ashokdas@hindustantimes,com