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Boy Ordered to Transfer Middle Schools for Having Cystic Fibrosis Gene

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An 11-year-old California boy has been told he needs to transfer to a different public middle school because he carries the gene for--but does not have--the genetic disease cystic fibrosis.  From MSNBC.com:

Colman Chadam, was told last week that he'd have to transfer from Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto, Calif., to a school three miles away because he posed a risk to another student at school who does have the disease, according to TODAY.

"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."

An inherited condition, cystic fibrosis causes the body to create a thick mucus that clogs the lungs and can lead to life-threatening lung infections. About 30,000 American adults and children have the disease and patients have an average life expectancy in the late 30s.

While it is not contagious, doctors say people with cystic fibrosis can pose a danger to each other through bacterial cross-contamination if they are in close contact.

"In general, we would prefer that there not be more than one cystic fibrosis patient in a school," Dr. Thomas Keens, the head of the cystic fibrosis center at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, told TODAY.

The district's assistant superintendent, Charles Young, told NBC News that officials relied on medical authorities who said "a literal physical distance must be maintained" between patients and that the "zero risk option" was to transfer Colman.

Colman's parents are homeschooling him while they await a decision on the school situation.  They emphasized to the media and to school officials that their son has never had a clinical diagnosis of cystic fibrosis.

Image: School bus, via Shutterstock

 

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