(Youth Education Life Line)
For Immediate Release:
October 21, 1994
ACTIVISTS TO PROTEST BOARD OF ED'S CONSERVATIVE AIDS COUNCIL
NEW YORK CITY-AIDS activists plan to disrupt a meeting of the Board of Education's HIV/AIDS Advisory Council next Monday afternoon, in an effort to challenge the group's conservative agenda and lack of AIDS expertise. The action comes as the Council holds its first meeting of the 1994-95 school year and begins its review of the grades 10-12 AIDS curriculum for New York City public schools. The meeting will take place Monday, October 24 at 5 PM in Room 210 at the New York City Board of Education, 110 Livingston Street, Brooklyn.
Members of YELL, the Youth Education Life Line of ACT UP, will target eleven conservative members of the Advisory Council who were responsible for introducing the concept of "secondary virginity" into the grades 7-9 AIDS curriculum last year, prompting a flurry of protest from activists and educators. The conservative majority also removed specific mention of anal and oral intercourse from the grades 7-9 lesson plans, along with references to lesbian and gay youth, condom demonstrations, and other explicit lifesaving information.
"The majority of this council knows nothing about AIDS, knows nothing about prevention, and knows nothing about the realities of students' lives," says YELL member Alice Eisenberg. "It frightens me to think of the damage they will do to the high school curriculum. If they're not prepared to give young people the education we need, they'd better get out of the way."
The AIDS Advisory Council's conservative majority is led led by chairman Bill Andrews, notorious for the homophobic speeches he made at two anti-gay demonstrations last spring. Other members include Staten Island lawyer Louise Philips, a founding member of Parents for Restoration of Values in Education (PROVE), and Willie Alfonso, a plaintiff in Alfonso v. Fernandez, the lawsuit which challenged condom availability in the public schools.
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