Civil Rights

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Legal Protections for Children with Viral Hepatitis
Updated 2006
In the United States, three federal laws are critical in protecting children with viral hepatitis against discrimination in schools, daycare centers, athletic programs, camps and other areas of daily life.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the most powerful law safeguarding the rights of children in public and private schools and daycare centers. The law also prevents any organization or business from discriminating against a person because of a real or perceived disability, such as an infectious disease.
A second law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, bars schools, colleges and other
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They hadn’t even checked the boy’s records to see if he had been vaccinated against hepatitis B. It turned out he had been.”
The school principal apologized on behalf of the school district, the child with viral hepatitis stayed in the classroom, and the school district incorporated ADA language that defined how a medical risk was to be evaluated into its own regulations. During the next teacher workshop day, school officials reviewed the right to privacy provisions under FERPA with teachers and held a standard precautions training session.
Daycare centers and schools usually contract with doctors who, under ADA, could serve
as a medical expert in such health risk assessments. School nurses often lack the expertise needed to make informed assessments about health risks posed by viral hepatitis. ADA regulations clearly state, “The determination that a person poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others may not be based on generalizations or stereotypes about the effects of a particular disability; it must be based on an individual assessment that considers the particular activity and the actual abilities and disabilities of the individual.
The individual assessment must be based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical evidence.”
It is important to
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