Court Orders School to Pay Compensation for Expelling HIV-Positive Pupil

May 29, 2024

The HIV and AIDS Tribunal has awarded compensation to the family of a pupil expelled from school due to his HIV status.

The court ordered Najah Primary School in Garissa County to pay a mother Kes. 650,000 for stigmatizing and discriminating against her 12-year-old son. The Tribunal ruled that the school was unjust in expelling the Grade Two pupil.

According to the case details, the boy had been discreetly taking anti-retroviral medication (ARVs) with the help of his elder brother, who also attended the school.

However, when the school administration discovered his HIV status, they sent him home and allegedly offered his mother Kes. 10,000 to withdraw him from the school.

The mother testified that the school offered only Kes. 600, and her son stopped attending school due to depression caused by the discrimination. Despite being sued, the school and its administrator, Mohamed Noor, did not respond to the case.

The five-member tribunal, led by Carolyne Mboku, determined that the school’s actions were unjust and illegal, constituting discrimination against the minor in violation of Section 32 of the Act.

The tribunal awarded the mother Kes. 400,000 for discrimination and an additional Kes. 250,000 for the suffering inflicted by the school.

The tribunal noted that individuals living with HIV who face stigma are more likely to delay seeking care, and discrimination in healthcare settings drives them away, hindering efforts to provide HIV testing, treatment, and prevention services.

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