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10-Year-Old AIDS Victim Ryan Thomas Dies

November 30, 1991

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) _ Ryan Thomas, an AIDS victim who won a federal court battle in 1986 to remain in his kindergarten class, died from complications of AIDS, a hospital spokesman said. He was 10.

The boy died Thursday in an ambulance taking him to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, nursing supervisor Carleen Stum said today.

The Thomas family is not listed in the telephone directory for the San Luis Obispo area. Other relatives could not be reached.

Ryan was infected with the virus that causes AIDS when he received a blood transfusion at his premature birth. When he was 4 years old and barred from attending kindergarten by the local school district, the boy’s parents went to federal court.

After a 10-month legal battle, Ryan was reinstated in Santa Rosa Road Elementary School in Atascadero, 170 miles north of Los Angeles.

He was suspended six days later for biting a classmate during a schoolyard scuffle. The bite did not break skin. By then, Ryan was 5.

The boy returned to school the next month when U.S. District Judge Alicemarie Stotler ruled he didn’t pose a health threat.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which joined the Thomas family’s lawsuit, said the case established the right of AIDS victims to attend regular school classes.

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