September 16, 2003 by

Jason Robertson


Categories: Extraordinary People

Jason Robertson, an AIDS activist who fought his school district for the right to attend classes, died of the disease on Sept. 4. He was 23.
Robertson was diagnosed with HIV when he was 5 years old. He contracted the virus in 1986 through blood products used to treat his hemophilia. The Granite City School District in Illinois segregated the boy into a trailer classroom, but Robertson wanted to attend regular classes with the other children. The district refused, however, because parents who were ignorant and fearful of HIV refused to let their kids sit in the same room as Robertson.
In 1988, a federal judge ordered the district to allow Robertson to attend regular classes. On his first day of school, the parents protested and shouted at him to get “back to the trailer!”
When Robertson’s family moved to South Roxana, Ill., three years later, he faced the same kind of cruelty at his new school. Despite these obstacles, Robertson became a symbol of hope in the fight against AIDS discrimination.

17 Responses to Jason Robertson

  1. Rachel Freeman

    Tammie I am so sorry to hear about Jason’s passing. I heard about it from my Mother Chelsea Lambeth. My Name is Rachel Freeman and I’m your Niece. I wish that my mom told me that I had an Aunt but I didn’t know till after Jason’s passing. I want you to know how sorry I am for your loss. I hope that one day I can speek with you. Please Call Tracy & Cathy to get my Phone #.I hope you see this message and I hope to speak with you soon.

  2. sarah g sandres

    Tammy let me say right away how sorry I am for your sad and painful loss,It is never easy for no one to lose a child,you have sufferd terribly,I pray that you can find peace,with all the pain that you have endured,hold your head high,you are a great insperation to all of us, stay strong,and remember that jason is watching from above.
    Sarah Sanders
    jesse beckys sister

  3. jason robertson

    hello my name is jason robertson to. I was on the internet messing around and typed my own name in to see what came up. This story about this kid and his strugle to go through the embarassment that he did must have been overwelming. i strive to learn this quality of being humble and putting others first. I also must add. On this very day i was feeling very down. I myself today returned from the doctor to have my tcell count and viral load checked. I WAS very scared and really felling down. And now i read about this boy and what he has done and how he changed peoples ways of viewing things things and seemed to have empowered those around him. today on august 4 2004 once again he has empowered me to not be scared and to keep my head up. Although he has laid to rest. he has inspired me to do what i can. God bless you all.
    jason robertson

  4. Robert Levy

    My name is Bob Levy. I had the honor of being Jason Robertson’s friend and big brother. Yesterday was Jason’s birthday. He would have been twenty-four.
    I first met Jason in 1988. I had no idea the young boy I became friends with would help change the world with his love and courage in the face of anger and hatred over HIV/AIDS. I guess one of the earliest memories I have is of angry parents wishing physical harm to this eight-year-old boy and he, in turn, reaching out wanting to be their friend anyway.
    Over the years, Jason and I built a lot of memories. Some of them I wish not to share on here because they are very personal. But, Jason loved sports…especially wrestling. In 1994, Jason got four tickets to see SummerSlam ’94 in Chicago. Jason, his mom, her boyfriend, and I went to Chicago and spent a few days. Jason’s birthday was a day or two before the event so it was a great present. And, he was ecstatic that we stayed at the hotel right across the street from the wrestlers. He had such a great time. Another memory was of a family reunion camping trip I was invited to attend with him. Jason and i shared a tent while Tammie and her then boyfriend (now husband), Jay stayed in a small trailer. Jason and i definitely weren’t rugged for camping. After being there one day, he got the idea of us getting a room at a nearby motel.
    I would need a lot of room to write about the camping trip alone…much less all the memories he and I made.
    I believe angels do walk among us or live among us. Jason was here for a short time. In that brief twenty-three years, he changed the world and, not only touched my heart, but left a permanent handprint on it. I will NEVER forget you, Jason. Thanks for my memories, bro!!

  5. daniel tow sr

    i am jason’s cousin. it makes me feel better to know that all of the people who read these internet sites about him are so supportive jason was never one to like the lime light but now that he is gone everyone can finally see the hell he went through just to be as close to an avarage boy. jason we all miss you and we hope that you are in a place now where you will never have to feel the humiliation that you felt on earth .

  6. crista tucker

    hello, i remember the 1st time i met jason. i moved from st. louis in jan 93 and started a new school at roxana. i knew nobody. but one day in mrs. barton’s class a kid came up and talked to me. i thought hey this boy is very nice. i had no idea why sometimes he was there and others not. but one day a girl in our class came up and said dont talk to him he has aids. at first i thought she was kidding. but then i thought o well that dont mean that i cant talk to him. the day my grandma asked if i knew jason was the day i found out he past. it put a weak feeling in my gut. he was the first nice person i met here. he didnt deserve what people said and thought of him. he was nice and very kind.
    crista t

  7. David

    I met Jason around 1989 – I drove from
    South Bend, Indiana to South Roxanna after I had talked with Jeanne White and the Ray Family in Florida. They told me about this family that could use some support because the community was threatened by a little boy who just happened to be HIV Positive. I headed to Illinois – and I met this wonderful family. Jason was a character for sure. I missed the opportunity to know him as we got older, and I am sad that I am just findin out that he has passed. My life was definitely blessed for knowing him…and I am definitely blessed for having the opportunity of spending time with Missy and Tammie. I miss you guys!
    Love, David

  8. jason robertson

    dint know there was somebody else with my name who who just wanted to be normal in this crazy world i hope he will be rememered forever best wishes to your family

  9. Yolanda

    I am so sorry for the loss.I saw this story in health class on a tape from Discovery channel.I did not know it was that inportant to take your medicine.I volunteer at a hospital were I help people remember to take their pills.I am only 12 years old and now know the risk.I help people so what happen to Jason does not happen to them.I am sorry for your loss.My heart goes out to his family.

  10. Jason Robertson

    Hello my name is Jason Robertson.Ive wrote a time or two to Jason’s mom and sister in the past years. Ya know some times when im down and can barely go. I some times look at the nice things that are remembered by friends and family paying tribute to a man who some how has the same name as i do. Some times I see what he was thinking. What he was feeling.What he was going thru cause we fought and are still fighting for the cause. I pray for the family and frinds to keep the torch bright for us whose light grows dim. Thank you for puting this site up in his honor. I hope we can all draw strength from this.

  11. Tiffany Robertson

    Hey Tammie its me tiffany your daughter. I am at school and typing in this. Im very sad and hope one day jason can come back.

  12. Jennifer Tarnovsky

    I am Jason’s cousin Jenny. I had no idea about this site, or I would have posted something a lot sooner than now. I miss Jason so much, he was a great cousin. Him and I were very close in age, actually a month apart. I remember when we were kids, we all had so much fun together. I also remember the horrible things people would say about him. It made me so angry, even as a young kid I would get very upset over it. I too feel like Jason is walking the earth as an angel watching over all of his loved ones. He will always be in my heart, I will always love him!

  13. Tiffany

    Hey I’m Tiffany Missy’s Daughter and Jason’s Niece my brother jacob is a little rood about jason but he dosen’t even remember jason and i hope one day in his dreams he will talk to jason’s ghost or spirit and will become familiar with his face and hopefully i will met him in heaven when i die. I Miss you Jason.
    Tiffany Robertson a 13 year old.

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