updated 11/21/2008 4:22:48 PM ET 2008-11-21T21:22:48

The family of a 14-year-old girl who says she was bullied so badly over her HIV-positive status that she left school is suing the school district.

The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday against Washington Township Schools in Indianapolis said that the girl was subjected to name-calling and harassment at Westlane Middle School and that school officials did little to stop it, The Indianapolis Star reported.

In one instance, the lawsuit said, the middle schooler's soccer coach asked the girl whether she had AIDS, then told her the team could use her HIV status to its advantage because "the other team will be afraid."

A school official said he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment on it. An attorney for the family declined to elaborate on the case.

The girl's mother met several times with school counselors to complain about the harassment, but school officials took no action other than warning the students involved, the lawsuit said.

The girl withdrew from the school in September and is being home-schooled.

Superintendent James Mervilde said he couldn't comment on the lawsuit but said the district prohibits bullying and harassment and has policies with specific precautions for cleaning up and handling bodily fluids.

Another Indiana resident, Ryan White, drew national attention to the plight of children with HIV in the 1980s when as a 13-year-old he was banned from a rural school near Kokomo. White died in 1990.

More on HIV   |  bullies

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