Youth Education Life Line
AIDS ACTIVISTS TO PROTEST
PROPOSED AIDS CURRICULUM
AT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETINGS
NEW YORK CITY-Today, Wednesday, December 12, 1995, members of YELL, the Youth Education Life Line of ACT UP, will protest a proposed high school AIDS curriculum at the Board of Education's 3 p.m. committee of the whole meeting. A civil disobedience action is expected. The meeting will take place in Room 210 at Board of Education headquarters, 110 Livingston Street, Brooklyn.
Later, at the 6 p.m. public hearing, scores of activists, students, parents, and AIDS educators will testify before the Board to voice displeasure with the proposed curriculum. Several of the registered speakers intend to perform condom demonstrations as part of their testimony, protesting the curriculum's controversial removal of classroom condom lessons from all grades.
"Why, after seven years of teaching students about proper condom use, is the Board of Ed taking this deadly step backward?" asks YELL member Alice Eisenberg, a student at the Beacon High School in Manhattan. "We demand a curriculum that will help us save our lives."
In addition to deleting condom demonstrations, the proposed curriculum for grades 10 through 12-developed by the Board's overwhelmingly conservative HIV/AIDS Advisory Council-encourages students to remain abstinent as part of their "commitment" to God, makes sterotyped references to gay men and lesbians, fails to teach young people how to negotiate safer sex, and falsely offers marriage as a protection against AIDS.
Since its formation in 1989, YELL has been at the forefront of the struggle for comprehensive AIDS education and condom availability in the public schools. In October of 1994, members of YELL disrupted a meeting of the AIDS Advisory Council to protest their similar dismantling of the junior high school AIDS curriculum. Four activists were arrested, including a 14-year-old student.
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