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SCOUT TROOPS REJECT GIRL WITH HIV, PARENTS CLAIM

Quashawn Donovan is a Girl Scout without a troop. Her parents believe she has been denied membership in local troops because she is HIV-positive.

The 8-year-old girl was welcomed as a potential Scout by the Adirondack Girl Scout Council, said Quashawn's mother, Dianne Donovan of Queensbury. Mrs. Donovan said she received a call from a troop leader in Queensbury, 46 miles north of Albany, on Nov. 10. The woman was considering adding Qua-shawn and two other girls to her troop.

"But when I told her of Quashawn's HIV condition, there was an immediate change in the tone of her voice," Mrs. Donovan told the Glens Falls Post-Star.

The leader told her to bring Quashawn to the first meeting, but an assistant leader later left a message on her answering machine saying the troop didn't have room for Quashawn or the other two girls, Mrs. Donovan said. Nine other local troops also had no room, she said.

Mrs. Donovan said Renee Toussaint, a Girl Scout field director, came to her home and inducted Quashawn as an individual Scout. Ms. Toussaint has launched an AIDS awareness effort among troop leaders and was trying to find a troop willing to accept her daughter, Mrs. Donovan said.

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