HIV positive student claims school kicked her out

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Just as Windy Heath was on the path to make a better living for her children, she claims Knoxville's Virginia College of Cosmetology put one of its biggest obstacles in her way.

"I got called into the dean's office and was told that because of my HIV status, I could no longer attend and was withdrawn from the program," said Heath.

Heath claimed the college dropped her from it's program after learning she is HIV positive. That's illegal.

According to the Department of Justice--"Title III of the ADA prohibits public accommodations, such as private vocational and technical colleges, from discriminating against people with disabilities, including those with HIV."

"People with HIV are scared to try to progress in life and do better because of the backlash that comes back because of this," Heath added.

Heath said she told the dean of the school about her status. She said she wanted to be transparent in in a place where she works closely with other students and styling equipment.

"I already knew the precautions, I know my viral load, I have an undetectable status, but I felt that she should know," said Heath.

Local 8 News reporter Donovan Long called Sergio Takahashi, the president of the college, earlier this week. While he's still waiting on an official comment, he went digging for answers on his own.

Heath sent Local 8 News a recording of a conversation she said is between her and Takahashi. He can be heard willingly admitting the school made a mistake.

"We own it, we own it, there was a misunderstanding and misconception of what that description of policies was and the rules and everything else," said Takahashi.

Heath said she's been given another chance at admission into the cosmetology school but is still deciding if she'll accept the offer.

She hopes others with HIV will learn from her struggle.

"I hope that other people who've been through this realize it's not the end of the world and life will go on," said Heath. "You have to pick up the pieces and go and start over somewhere else," she continued.