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EDUCATION DEPARTMENT REITERATES STATE'S AIDS INSTRUCTION POLICY

   EDUCATION DEPARTMENT REITERATES STATE'S AIDS INSTRUCTION POLICY
    HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- State Commissioner for Elementary and Secondary Education Joseph F. Bard today reiterated Pennsylvania's policy that requires Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) instruction in the public schools.
    "Earvin  Magic' Johnson's recent announcement that he is infected with the AIDS-causing HIV has brought many people face-to-face with the reality that this is a disease that threatens everyone," said Bard. "Realizing that an informed public is our best defense in battling this devastating disease, the state Board of Education four years ago amended curriculum requirements to include AIDS instruction at least once in every level in our schools."
    Under the requirement, schools must provide instruction about AIDS and related issues to students in the elementary, middle/junior high and senior high grades.
    "This instruction must be included in the health curriculum and must be presented in a series of systematic lessons covering the content outlined in the School Code," Bard said.
    The code requires that the educational materials and instruction "shall be determined by the local school district and be appropriate to the age group being taught.  Each program of instruction shall include, but need not be limited to, information about the nature of the disease, the lack of a cure, the ways the disease is transmitted and how infection can be prevented."
    Bard said school districts may omit instructing pupils in the elementary grades that AIDS can be transmitted through sexual activity.
    "However, in programs where the transmission of AIDS through sexual activity is discussed, the instruction must stress that abstinence from sexual activity is the only completely reliable means of preventing the transmission of the disease," Bard said.
    In cases where AIDS instruction conflicts with religious beliefs or moral principles of students or parents, the code allows students to be excused from the instruction.
    To support the regulation, the Department of Education has provided curriculum support services and has conducted teacher training workshops and AIDS/HIV peer education training programs.
    /delval/
    -0-                          11/19/91
    /CONTACT:  John Clark of the Department of Education, 717-783-9802/ CO:  Department of Education ST:  Pennsylvania IN: SU: KA -- PH013 -- 4882 11/19/91 10:56 EST
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Date:Nov 19, 1991
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