Jakarta

HIV+ father demands apology
from school

Fajar Jasmin Sugandhi, a father whose daughter has been denied entrance to Don Bosco elementary school in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, because he is HIV positive, has demanded that the school board issue a formal apology to his daughter via media outlets.

“I demand the school board members officially apologize to my daughter, to me as her parent and to all people living with HIV via five national media outlets, and to hold a press conference to convey their conclusion on the matter,” Fajar said Friday.

Fajar’s daughter enrollment was cancelled on Thursday, on World AIDS day, Dec. 1, through a text message sent by a school board member saying that other parents had objected to his daughter’s presence.

Earlier, Fajar’s daughter had been accepted as a student for the new academic year next year. However, the school later asked her daughter to submit an HIV/AIDS test result after Fajar had revealed his HIV status before school board members.

“I was planning to ask for an official letter from the school board when the school board members invited me to discuss the matter [on Friday],” Fajar told The Jakarta Post after the meeting.

During the two-hour meeting, Fajar asked for an explanation on the cancellation.

“They insisted that it was not discrimination because they had asked for the test result based to my own revelation,” Fajar said, adding that there were no parents present to confirm their objections.

“I don’t want to further argue as it was clear that we have different understandings about the concept of ‘discrimination’.

“This issue is not about me and my daughter any more. It’s about human rights," he said.

“They said they needed two days to discuss this issue internally. We will just have to wait for them to announce their decision next Monday,” he said.

The school representatives could not be reached for comment.

“Bapak Hartanto is not available at the moment,” a school employee said when The Jakarta Post approached the school spokesman via telephone. (swd)

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