11-year-old Colman Chadam of California is being told he must transfer middle schools because he carries the gene for cystic fibrosis, and is perceived as a health threat to a child at the school who actually has the disease.
School administrators reason that the students should be separated since cross-bacterial contamination can occur between kids with CF. But here’s the rub: being a carrier does not mean you have the disease; Chadam has been tested and shows no signs of the illness. However, school officials say medical experts have advised them that transferring Chadam is the “zero-risk option.”
My son is also a carrier for CF, a fact we learned from a routine newborn screening. Aside from a few very scary weeks while we waited for the sweat test that would determine if he had the disease itself, the only way it will affect his life is that he will need to get genetic counseling when he has children, since you can pass it down to your children if you procreate with another carrier.
Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening condition in which mucous fill the lungs and cause infection. People with the inherited disease usually only live to their 30s.
Chadam’s parents are appealing the decision and home-schooling him in the mean time.
Do you think this decision is fair? Leave a comment.