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Abstinence Core of Proposed 10th-Grade Course on AIDS

February 04, 1988|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | Times Staff Writer

A course on AIDS expected to be introduced in the Glendale Unified School District this spring will emphasize abstinence as the best method to prevent spread of the disease, district officials told the Glendale Board of Education on Tuesday.

The report by Donald W. Empey, deputy superintendent of instruction, was the first formal proposal on instructional guidelines and materials to be used in a class on sexually transmitted diseases, including the acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Trustees were not asked to act on the proposal until they study it further. The recommendations were developed after months of study by two district committees composed of representatives of teachers, school officials, parents, health officials and students.

Five hours of instruction on sexually transmitted diseases are expected to be given late in the spring semester, which begins Monday.

Discussion of AIDS will be included as part of the guidance, health and driver education course required of all 1,500 10th-grade students in the district's four high schools.

District spokesman Vic Palos said parents will be notified before the disease section of the course begins and will have an opportunity to review the course program and materials. Palos also said that parents may request, in writing, that a student be excused from attending the section.

Gregory Bowman, district director of curriculum and staff development, said goals of the class will be "to encourage abstinence as the only behavior to prevent the spread" of AIDS and other diseases, "to establish sexual behavior in a broader ethical and moral context," and to provide "accurate information" and "clarify misconceptions" about the diseases.

Palos said the use of condoms will be discussed under another section of the course as a method of birth control. However, he said the district will not advocate the use of condoms as a prevention against AIDS.

"The district is not going to put itself in the position of recommending the use of a birth control device, including condoms," Palos said. "It is not our position to give advice to students. We just provide information as part of the course."

Palos emphasized that the thrust of the instruction on sexually transmitted disease "will be one of abstinence. That theme is carried out throughout any sex education or family life programs that we have at any grade level."

The course includes information on the causes, symptoms and treatment of AIDS and 20 other sexually transmitted diseases.

Informational handouts and videotapes also will be used.

The district also is studying a proposal to offer an after-school class on sexually transmitted diseases to students who are currently in the 11th and 12th grades.

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