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Respiratory Health

Boy banned from school for carrying cystic fibrosis gene

A California boy has been ordered to transfer to another middle school because he carries the genetic mutations for cystic fibrosis – even though his doctors and parents maintain he does not have the incurable, non-infectious disease, the San Francisco Gate reported.

School officials said they believe 11-year-old Colman Chadam’s genetic makeup may put other students at risk and ordered him to move from Palo Alto’s Jordan Middle School to another district middle school three miles away after his parents disclosed his condition on a medical form in the beginning of the school year.

Colman has never had the lung problems associated with the disease, has never required treatment and tested negative on a sweat test, which is the definitive diagnostic test, his parents, Jamy and Jennifer Chadman, said Thursday.

The Chadmans said they only disclosed his condition out of an “overabundance of caution” and tried to convince the school officials that he does not have classic cystic fibrosis and therefore is not a risk.

While cystic fibrosis is not contagious, bacteria from the disease can be dangerous to others who have it as well, and non-siblings are advised to stay 3 to 6 feet away from each other, according to the Chronicle.  A pair of siblings at Colman’s school do have the disease, which prompted school officials to force Colman to change schools seven weeks into the year.

Colman’s parents took the school district to court Friday to fight the decision. Colman will be home-schooled until it is determined whether he can stay at Jordan or must go to Terman Middle School.

“Honestly, if I felt Colman was a risk to others, I would move him," Jennifer Chadam said. "I don't want anyone to get sick."

Palo Alto Unified administrators maintain they did what they thought was best, given the information they had, according to the district’s attorney, Lenore Silverman.

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