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The State

February 18, 1988

Absenteeism was down by more than 50% at an elementary school where Tulare County's first AIDS-infected student was enrolled. More than half the students who stayed away from classes at Roche Avenue Elementary School, apparently because of their parents' fears about enrollment of a 5-year-old AIDS-invected girl, returned to their classrooms. "We have 42 children reported absent today, compared to 92 on Tuesday," said Robert Boultin, the school's principal. School officials said they believed most of the 92 students who stayed away from the school on Tuesday, as well as many of Wednesday's 42 absentees, were held out by their parents who feared their children would contract the deadly disease from the girl. Schools Supt. Jacob Rankin met with a number of Roche parents in an attempt to allay their fears. He repeated that the girl had been cleared for public school attendance by three medical experts, including a doctor with the county Health Department.

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