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Protesters are angry at Hershey for funding a school that rejected a 13-year old boy because he is HIV-positive. Activists have protested Milton Hershey School, located in Pennsylvania, which is a boarding school for low income students. Protesters in Chicago have gathered outside the Hershey store this month to fight against what they believe to be discrimination.
The group has a website asking people to boycott Hershey until the policy is changed.
In addition to protests held in Chicago, AIDS activists have staged protests in San Francisco, New York and Hershey, Pennsylvania.
“We are asking the public to send a clear message to Hershey that there are `No Kisses for Hershey’ as Hershey continues its path of discrimination and ignorance,” Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
Milton Hershey attempted to defend the decision with this statement:
“We hope that fair-minded people also understand that we did not make this decision in ignorance, but that we looked at all the complicated issues surrounding our unique environment and made the decision we thought was best for our students,” said Connie McNamara, the school’s vice president for communications.
The AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania argues that the school has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by rejecting the boy for admission. The boy, whose name has not been released, is an honor roll student.
Ronda Goldfein, attorney for the AIDS Law Project, said she is not involved with the boycott effort but the protests have been a morale booster for the boy and his mother.
“For a 14-year-old to hear that he’s danger, he’s a threat, that has really been hard for him,” said Ronda Goldfein, attorney for the AIDS Law Project .