Judge Delays Ruling In Ryan White Case
FRANKFORT, Ind. (AP) _ Ryan White’s possible return to school was delayed another day Wednesday when a judge postponed his ruling on a preliminary injunction barring the 14- year-old AIDS victim from classes.
Clinton Circuit Judge Jack O’Neill said he would announce Thursday morning on whether he will dismiss the preliminary injunction granted to a group of six parents in February. The injunction has kept the Kokomo youth from classes at Western Middle School on grounds he may pose a public health threat.
Ryan, who attended the hearing with his mother, Jeanne White, said he was disappointed in the delay, but ″at least there’s a little hope now. It’ll give him (the judge) more time to think about it.″
Ryan, who contracted acquired immune deficiency snydrome through blood treatments for his hemophilia, has been barred from his seventh-grade classes since summer.
The case was moved to Clinton Circuit Court last month from Howard Circuit Court on a change of venue requested by Ryan’s attorney, Charles Vaughan.
O’Neill ruled Wednesday that he retained jurisdiction in the case, denying a motion from Vaughan, who said the case belongs in federal court.
Vaughan noted an apparent conflict in the state law, which requires that parents of children with communicable diseases not send their children to school, but at the same time says such a child can attend school with the permission from the local health officer.
A Howard County health officer examined Ryan in February and deemed he did not pose a health threat to other children or staff. Ryan went back to school Feb 21, but the preliminary injunction barring him from classes was issued the same day. Ryan has continued to monitor classes via a telephone hook-up.
Vaughan said the intent of the law was to allow children with communicable diseases to attend school if they pose no medical danger to other people.
He noted that the State Board of Health and Howard County health officials had already determined Ryan’s condition posed no threat.
David Rosselot, an attorney for the parents who sued to bar the boy from classes, argued that AIDS is a communicable disease under state law and thus, under state statute, the boy should not be allowed in class.
O’Neill granted the Indiana Civil Liberties Union friend-of-the-court status in the case. ICLU attorney Richard Wapples asked for the status to file a brief in the case, saying he wanted to present the most recent information on AIDS to the court.