_YELL __Youth Education Life Line

YELL (Youth Education Life Line) is an affinity group within ACT UP formed in 1989 to work on AIDS issues facing young people,especially AIDS education.   *

YELL has monitored and raised public awareness about AIDS education in the public schools and advocated a comprehensive, reality-based approach to HIV prevention for young people.

YELL plays a crucial role in advocating and organizing support for the high school condom availability programs and AIDS education curricula to students in public high schools throughout NYC.

Through DIRECT ACTION in letter-writing, demonstrations, and civil disobedience, we expose the increasingly dismal AIDS education at the Board of Education -- such as the "morality oaths," the de-staffing of the High School HIV/AIDS Resource Centers, and the dismantling of the AIDS curriculum by the conservative AIDS Advisory Council.

YELL is was a diverse group of students, teachers, and AIDS activists.





see the Zine  _

Youth Links below    

HALF of all new HIV infections occur in youths
younger than 25 years of age.

The United States has completely failed to confront the realities of youth and AIDS

Texas abstinence plan not working
Jan 25, 2005:  Abstinence-only programs like those promoted by the Bush administration don't seem to be working on teenagers in the president's home state, according to a state-sponsored study by Texas A&M University researchers.

The New York City Public School system is the largest in the U.S. with over a million and a half students.
The problems with AIDS education in the NYC Public Schools have been growing WORSE for over a decade!

Inadequacies in HIV/AIDS education in New York City's Public Schools
While schools must teach a specific number of HIV/AIDS lessons and the Department of Education must provide the necessary support to ensure implementation, the requirements are not being met.

These vast inadequacies in the school system coincide with increases in HIV infections among youth. The Centers for Disease Control states that two Americans between ages 13 and 24 are infected with HIV every hour. In light of such vulnerability to infection, it is critical that schools deliver HIV/AIDS education. With approximately 1.1 million students attending its schools, the public school system is a natural and logical venue for reaching youth in this city.

The report asserts that the Department of Education must make HIV/AIDS education into the priority that it should be by:

· Updating HIV/AIDS curricula;
· Utilizing appropriate, well-trained personnel to teach HIV/AIDS lessons;
· Improving evaluation and oversight procedures to ensure that all public schools are fully compliant with HIV/AIDS mandates and prevention efforts are effective;
· Ensuring adequate resources to carry out HIV/AIDS education.

The New York AIDS Coalition calls upon Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene Thomas Frieden to publicly voice their support for the AIDS educational mandates. Their leadership is essential to implementing reform and strengthening commitment to this initiative throughout the school system. The alternative is to consign a new generation to HIV.


The New York City School System goes through Chancellors like toilet paper.

Joseph Fernandez
Former Miami schools chief. Ousted by hostile Board and the Religious "Right" Wing over the RAINBOW CIRRICULUM.
January 1990 - June 1993

New York City Schools Chancellor, Joseph Fernandez, found out just how emotional the issue can be. He was at the helm when New York City became the first school system in the country to make condoms available to students. The uproar that followed this decision damaged his career, and he was ousted shortly afterwards. For him, the report ["making condoms available does not encourage students who have never had sex to become sexually active. It also found that making condoms available to students at school led to a higher rate of condom use among sexually active students"] is a vindication and, in a comment to the New York Times, he called the findings "a wake up call."

Cardinal O'Connor used the pulpit at St. Patrick's Cathedral to congratulate members of the New York City Board of Education who had voted to ditch Schools Chancellor Joseph Fernandez. ...

____________________ see also: report on the Cardinal Ruining AIDS Prevention in the Schools

see also: history of AIDS Education in the New York Public Schools

Ramon Cortines
Former San Francisco schools chief. Resigned after dispute with Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He was a forgettable do-doing Chancellor, other than ruining AIDS prevention education in the NY Public School System. September 1993-October 1995. On January 11, 1994, on the recommendation of the Chancellor, the Board adopted a resolution to include a parental opt-out provision. Since that date, schools have been required to inform parents of incoming or otherwise new public high school students that, in order to opt a child from condom availability, parents would make a written request to that effect in an envelope marked "confidential" and addressed to the school principal.

Rudy Crew
Former schools chief in Tacoma, Wash. Resigned after dispute with Giuliani.
October 1995 - December 1999
Chancellor Rudy Crew had NOT taken any LEADERSHIP in AIDS education.

  • Chancellor Crew is supposed to be responsible for seeing that NYC schools are in compliance with the State mandates in AIDS eduction.
  • He continually walks out of a public meetings as students and parents --some of them HIVpositive-- express their concerns about neglected AIDS education.
  • The only thing to come out of his office has been a memo to the schools, issued at the end of May, reminding them they have to do six AIDS lessons --that late in the year, it is impossible for schools to comply, even IF they wanted to or knew how.
  • In some schools there is NOT any AIDS education, in others there's not enough. Some schools teach only abstinence, and some don't make condoms available. Some discourage students who are trying to organize peer education, and other schools don't involve parents.

Harold Levy
Former Citigroup lawyer. Announced intention to resign after Mayor Bloomberg signaled he would replace him. January 2000 - August 2002

On May 31st, 2000 in a public forum, Chancellor Harold Levy was asked about sex education and condom availability to which he replied: "next question." He later apologized saying he didn't mean to be "flippant" but just wanted to "avoid controversy."


Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday appointed Joel Klein, a former federal prosecutor, as the new chancellor of New York City public schools. Klein will lead a re-configured school system that is now largely controlled by the mayor. As head of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Justice Department during the Clinton administration, Klein launched the case that sought to break up Microsoft. He later worked as head of U.S. operations for media conglomerate Bertlesmann A.G. A native New Yorker, Klein has very little experience in education: he went to New York City public schools and briefly taught sixth graders in Queens. Bloomberg's choice, a surprise to many, seems to show a "deep distrust of professional educators."


> > > ACTION Reports at the Board of Education__
a few (of the many many) actions > > >

check out:   YELL Survey of AIDS Education

There is still great need to monitor New York City Public High Schools regarding AIDS education.
Please find out what is going on with AIDS education in your school, and if deficient,

  Don't Forget to Check-out the zine

Flyer and Safe-Sex Information:
_____What the Board of Education Doesn't Want You To Know

       Half of all young Americans will get a sexually transmitted disease by the age of 25... 

World AIDS Day

_The Firing of
.Surgeon General
.Joycelyn Elders



Peer Education, Not Fear Education
________________video by DIVA TV

Past Press Releases (just a few of the many...)


Stop the Church 10 Year Anniversary
Press Conference,
December 12, 1999






      from the The Sixth International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific

HIV/AIDS and Sex Education Youth-friendly Websites LINKS from UNESCO Bangkok (29.7.03)

Youth-Friendly Websites on HIV/AIDS and Sex Education

The internet has a wealth of resources on HIV/AIDS, of which only a small portion is youth-friendly. The following is a resource list of web sites that were created for young people and which has AIDS-related content.

AIDS Sex and Teens from avert.org
This website provides teens with basic information on HIV/AIDS, including transmission, statistics, and history.
Dr. Drew.Com
An interactive site that encompasses all aspects of teen life, with a specific focus on sex, dating and physical health and well-being.
Go Ask Alice
A question and answer website run by Columbia University's Health and Education Program.

I Wanna Know
This is a teen-oriented site that includes questions and answers on teen sexuality and STDs, along with brochures, "STD 101," and other helpful info.

An online magazine for teens that has frank and open discussions about sex.

Teen Advice Online
By Teens For Teens, " this is a site that deals with a wide array of questions about sexual health issues in today's world. Teens contribute stories about their own experiences.

This section of the Teen AIDS web site is devoted to teens and includes a teen advice column.

Sex Etc.
This website is produced by teens for teens. SEX, etc. talks about love, sex, abstinence, contraception, AIDS, STDs, drugs and drinking, violence and health topics, just to name a few.

An online magazine by Planned Parenthood that provides sexual health and relationship information for teens.

It's Your (Sex) Life
A site that answers questions about contraception, STDs, and how teens can negotiate their sexual lives. This site is sponsored by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.



Staying Alive
A website created for young people. It is a partnership between MTV, Youth Net (spearheaded by Family Health International) and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Additional partners include USAID, UNAIDS and The World Bank. Their mission is to "inform young people about the virus, promote safe lifestyle choices, provide information about local rganizations and mobilize youth to overcome the stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV/AIDS and to fight for an end to the spread of HIV/AIDS."
Youth HIV
A website that is created by and for HIV positive youth and peer educators. It is a project created by Advocates for Youth and offers sexual and mental health information, community support, opportunities for advocacy, resources and referrals, and online peer education.

Forwarded to SEA-AIDS by Jan Wijngaarden at UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education Bangkok, Thailand July 29th, 2003. Thanks to Sanam Kittikulsingh for researching.


The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) is pleased to announce the release of its new ground breaking publication, SIECUS State Profiles: A Portrait of Sexuality Education and Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs in the States.

SIECUS State Profiles is the result of over two years of research into federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. This new resource details the amount, type, and use of federal abstinence-only-until-marriage funds in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The publication also chronicles controversies related to sexuality education in each state, lists relevant state statutes, and provides contact information for state-based organizations involved in sexuality education and sexual health issues.     

"We know what works. When young people have access to comprehensive and medically accurate information regarding their sexual health, they delay the onset of sexual activity and increase their condom use. It is high time that state and federal lawmakers, including the Bush Administration, stop putting political expediency ahead of the health and well-being of our young people. They need to halt funding for unproven abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that deny young people critical sexual health information, and instead, fund comprehensive programs that work," said Kreinin.

To view the complete publication, go to www.siecus.org

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ACT UP / New York