Success of Petition to End HIV Discrimination in Schools
Over 1500 people signed up to National AIDS Trust’s (NAT) petition calling on the Government to ensure that no child or teacher is discriminated against in school because of their HIV status. After two years of campaigning this petition, which secured hundreds of supporters, played a key role in making the Government take notice. In response to the petition, the Government provided a detailed response and agreed to work with NAT on the issue.
Last Friday Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT, met with officials from the Department of Children Schools and Families (DCFS), for the second time. Following the meeting the DCFS agreed to:
- Update the guidance about HIV provided to teachers on Teacher Net and include a link to information on the NAT website.
- Include information about HIV discrimination in an email sent to schools.
However the Department did not agree to provide schools with specific guidance on their responsibilities not to discriminate against people living with HIV. Therefore the campaign continues.
Deborah Jack commented:
“We’d like to thank everyone who supported the petition. This campaign has lasted almost two years and progress had been frustratingly slow. However, we know the petition has played an important role in persuading the Department of Children Schools and Families to take this issue seriously.
We are pleased that there is now improved online guidance on HIV for teachers but more still needs to be done. Unfortunately we know the current system that relies on teachers and parents to bring forward individuals cases of discrimination doesn’t prevent further cases occurring. We will continue to push the government to be proactive and provide specific guidance and support on HIV for all schools. ”
The campaign has also gained support of three major teaching unions, Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ALT), National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and The Teachers’ Union (NASUWT). NAT is continuing to work with these unions to educate teachers and head teachers within their networks about HIV.
Notes to the editor:
The Government's response to NAT's petition can be read at: http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page19906
For further information please contact:
020 7814 6733 / 07947 725299
NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expert advice and practical resources. We campaign for change.
Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.