SACRAMENTO — Warning that ignorance about AIDS caused recent strife in Florida, Senate President Pro Tem David A. Roberti (D-Los Angeles) on Saturday urged Gov. George Deukmejian to sign legislation requiring that videotapes about the deadly disease be distributed for viewing by California's junior and senior high school students.
"One of the greatest battles we face in our fight against AIDS is ignorance," Roberti said in a radio address. "Public education about AIDS is vital. It can help eliminate unwarranted fear and panic and help us to deal with the disease in a rational manner."
Roberti said Californians should take note of the plight of the Clifford Ray family of Arcadia, Fla., who were shunned by their community after their three sons, all hemophiliacs, were infected with the AIDS virus through blood transfusions. The family's house was gutted by an unexplained fire shortly after the Rays obtained a court order permitting their sons to attend public school.
"We have all seen what ignorance about AIDS can do to a community," Roberti said.
Favored in Both Houses
The legislation, authored by state Sen. Gary K. Hart (D-Santa Barbara), would require state schools Supt. Bill Honig and Health Department Director Kenneth W. Kizer to choose a videotape to be distributed as part of an AIDS education program for all students in grades 7 through 12. The bill was passed by the Assembly on a 44-29 vote and by the Senate on a 30-4 vote.