A California student was kicked out of his school and ordered to transfer to a different middle school because he carries the gene for cystic fibrosis. Even though the young student does not have the incurable, life-threatening, and non-infectious disease … he was still forced to leave his school. His parents have gone to court to fight the ordered transfer.
According to TODAY, 11-year-old Colman Chadam was told last week that he had to transfer from Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto, California to another middle school three miles away. The was told to transfer because his school thought he posed a risk to another student at the school who does have the disease.
“I was sad but at the same time I was mad because I understood that I hadn’t done anything wrong,” Colman told TODAY. He added: “It feels like I’m being bullied in a way that is not right.”
While cystic fibrosis is not contagious, doctors say that people with the disease could pose a danger to each other through bacterial cross-contamination they are in close contact with each other.
“In general, we would prefer that there not be more than one cystic fibrosis patient in a school,” said Dr. Thomas Keens, the head of the cystic fibrosis center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Charles Young, the districts assistant superintendent, told NBC News that officials made the decision by relying on medical authorities who said “a literal physical distance must be maintained” between at risk patients and that the “zero-risk option” was to transfer Colman.
Coleman’s parents, however, believe that the decision was an overreaction by the school district. Coleman having the cystic fibrosis gene has never caused an issue in any other school he has been in. He has attended two other schools who had kids with cystic fibrosis, and it has never been an issue.
“Why take a child who’s new to the district, who’s just making friends, who’s just building a support network, who’s just getting to know his teachers, who’s been well his whole life … why stigmatize him?” his father, Jaimy Chadam, said on TODAY.
Coleman’s mother also weighed in with her opinion on the school’s decision saying :
“The idea behind segregating these kids is that you don’t want them to get secondary infections because they have problems with their lungs and with their guts,” Snyderman told Savannah Guthrie on TODAY Wednesday. “They are more at risk for infections but I just want to underscore he doesn’t have cystic fibrosis so this was in an ill-thought-out decision.”
Colman’s parents are home-schooling him while they await a court hearing next week.