By PETER JACKSON
Amid the Easter weekend surge in candy sales, AIDS activists Friday stepped up their calls for a boycott of Hershey candy to protest the refusal of a boarding school with ties to the company to admit a teenager because he is HIV-positive.
Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation staged protests in San Francisco, New York City and Hershey, where company headquarters and the school are based.
"We are asking the public to send a clear message to Hershey that there are `No Kisses for Hershey' as Hershey continues its path of discrimination and ignorance," Michael Weinstein, the foundation president, said in a news release.
The company did not immediately return a call for comment. But Milton Hershey School defended its decision, saying it was difficult but appropriate under the circumstances.
"We hope that fair-minded people also understand that we did not make this decision in ignorance, but that we looked at all the complicated issues surrounding our unique environment and made the decision we thought was best for our students," Connie McNamara, the school's vice president for communications, said in an email Friday.
The AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania sued the school in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia last year, contending that the school violated the Americans with Disabilities Act in denying admission to the boy, whose name has not been made public.