Boy Banned From School For Bad Genes

An eleven year-old boy was kicked out of his middle school because he carries the gene for cystic fibrosis. Not that he has the disease; he only carries the gene.


(Boy carries cystic fibrosis gene)

Last week, Coleman Chadam was told he would have to transfer to a school three miles away because he may pose a health risk to another student at the school who does have the disease.

Cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease, causes the body to create a thick mucous that clogs the lungs and can cause deadly infections. Though the condition is not contagious, people with it can endanger each other through bacterial cross contamination.

“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 the Today show.

But Coleman doesn't actually have the disease and his parents say the school is overreacting. Jennifer Chadam says her son has attended other schools with students with cystic fibrosis and it has never been a problem. In fact, Coleman has never had any medical problems related to the illness.

The school was only alerted that he carried the gene when his parents listed it on the medical form at the beginning of the school year. "The school district freaked out," Jennifer told the San Francisco Chronicle. In fact, doctors say he is not even at risk of developing the disease however, school officials are unmoved.

“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.”

This is a future that science fiction fans have seen before. In Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel Brave New World, specific jobs required a specific genetic heritage.

More recently, the 1997 film Gattaca required particular complements of genes for particular jobs. Every employee was required to demonstrate his or her genetic competence every day, upon entry to a facility, by providing a sample to the automated DNA typing device. People who showed evidence of "poor genetic heritage" were not offered employment at the facility, and were not allowed to enter. If they entered under false pretenses, they were kicked out immediately.


(GattacaEmployees provide a DNA sample upon entry)

Via CafeMom.

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