If a school knows which students have AIDS should they tell the teachers for their safety?

UPDATED: Jun 2, 2011

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If a school knows which students have AIDS should they tell the teachers for their safety?

Recently, a list was released at my school. It contained the names of all children known to have AIDS. Some of the teachers want to know who is on the list for personal safety. Some of the students are known for violence and bad behavior. The teachers that break up fights on a regular basis want to know if those students are on the list. They are saying it is so they can take precautions such as, wearing gloves during first aid, and walking away from such a fight. I understand the issues but I would like to know who has the right? The student to privacy or the teachers to their safety?

Asked on June 2, 2011 under Personal Injury, Connecticut


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I believe the discrimination laws actually prohibit and prevent school officials from informing others that a student or anyone within the school system is HIV positive or has been diagnosed as having AIDS. This is a privacy issue and could actually break privacy and HIPAA laws if a list is created and dispersed. Teachers should have policies in place regarding school fights and whether teachers can indeed get involved at all or if they do, if they are placing themselves in a position to be sued by one or both of those involved in the fight itself. The teachers should consult with the union and then if a resolution does not come about, to individually discuss the matter with private counsel.

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