Shunned, the boy a school doesn’t want
A SIX-YEAR-OLD orphan has been barred from a primary school in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region because he is HIV-positive.
Parents of other children had protested at his admission, China Youth Daily reported yesterday.
The boy, identified by the alias “A-Long,” leads a solitary life, doing everything from cooking to laundry for himself in Niucheping Village in Liuzhou City since he was diagnosed soon after AIDS killed his father in July. The same disease had earlier claimed his mother and has resulted in the boy being shunned by others.
Relief from the Liuzhou government and social donations ensure that A-Long has enough food and water. However, his education has emerged as the latest problem for the little boy, who reached school age this year but is not being allowed to sit in a classroom with his peers.
Before his status was revealed, the boy was able to finish one term of preschool class in a primary school. But the school denied him admission to the grade one class when the new term began in September after some 200 parents had signed a petition in protest.
The school’s principal, Chen Xiyou, said they had reported the situation to higher authorities but hadn’t received a response.
A mother, who signed the petition, said her child could easily be infected with the illness in one careless bump or fight with A-Long, and this, she said, was too dangerous.
Some parents also said they would transfer their children to other schools if the boy was allowed in.
Now the little boy is learning to read and write at his rundown home, with his grandmother visiting him once or twice a month. A-Long, whose only companions are a dog and a flock of chickens, told China Youth Daily he used to have many playmates in preschool classes. But now his friends didn’t want to know him.
“I don’t know why,” A-Long said, too young to understand the total change of attitude.
A-Long’s situation has given government authorities a dilemma.
Tang Jinxiong, a local official, said it would be ignoring parents’ concerns if they pushed the school to admit A-Long.
“The best way to solve this problem is to send A-Long to a special center with qualified teachers and medical staffers. However, there is no such place yet in Guangxi,” Tang said.
Six-year- old AIDS orphan A- Long, not his real name, finds comfort in his only friend, his dog, at his rundown home in a hillside village in Liuzhou City in south China. The boy, an HIV carrier, lives alone, doing his home chores and even tending a small vegetable plot by himself. A- Long lost both parents within a year and has been kept out of school after parents of other children raised a petition against him. — China Foto Press