Parents’ fury as boy, 11, is told to leave school because of his genetic make-up

from A California schoolboy has been forced to stay at home after his school banned him from attending classes because he carries the gene for cystic fibrosis. Colman Chadam, 11, carries the genetic mutation for cystic fibrosis but doesn’t actually have the disease and shows no outward symptoms. The disease is incurable and life threatening and causes the body to create a thick mucous that clogs the lungs and can cause deadly infections. But although it’s not contagious, people with the disease or the gene can pose a risk to each other through bacterial cross-contamination if they are in close contact. The disease effects about 30,000 Americans but more than 10 million Americans carry the defective cystic fibrosis gene without knowing it. Colman’s parents say their son poses no risk to other pupils and are fighting the decision, made by Jordan Middle School, in Palo Alto. Teachers said Colman must be removed as an undisclosed number of other students at the school already have the disease. The school argues that, if Colman were allowed to continue attending classes, there is a risk of cross-contamination. Colman’s parents, who said the school has overreacted, are waiting for a court ruling on the matter next Thursday… [his mother] added: ‘If I felt Colman was a risk to others, I would move him. I don’t want anyone to get sick.’ Colman [said]: ‘I was sad but at the same time I was mad because I understood that I hadn’t done anything wrong. It feels like I’m being bullied in a way that is not right.’

Related: Education, Cystic Fibrosis and the Specter of Gene Bigotry

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