Martinez V. the School Board of Hillsborough County was about whether or not a child with AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) should attend a school since she was considered a “trainable mentally handicapped child”. The child was entitled to a free and appropriate education (FAPE) under the Education of the Handicapped Act (EHA). The important questions for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to consider was if her education among other students put them in danger to the point where she could not be in the classroom setting.
Initially, the U.S. District Court involved in Florida ruled that the student with developmental disabilities and AIDS could not be excluded from a Trainable Mentally Handicapped classroom if there was no risk of her transmitted the infection to the other students. The original judgment by this court also ruled that the school could limit contact with other classmates, but later, the case was re-considered after review by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
The child had thrush and constantly sucked her fingers, which led the court to conclude that her bodily secretions could put the other children in the classroom at risk of HIV (AIDS virus) transmission. The Court found that under the Education for Handicapped Act (EHA), and her rights to FAPE; the most appropriate placement for the child would be in the trainable mentally handicapped classroom with other children. It also found that the risk of transmission of HIV from saliva and urine was not significant enough to disregard the basic right for her to attend school with other children. As a result, the Court decided she should be placed in the appropriate classroom, and if any situation arose