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BURBANK : District OKs Showing Canceled AIDS Play

March 26, 1994|ED BOND

A play on AIDS awareness for high school students that was canceled by the Glendale Unified School District last month will be performed April 6 at Burbank High School.

The play has been reviewed by Burbank Unified School District officials and a special video screening of the play was offered to parents last month. So far, only five parents have objected to the play, filing a form with the school excusing their children from the performance of "Secrets," a play produced by the Oakland-based Kaiser Permanante hospital care organization.

"We did have one recommendation from a parent group (the Burbank High PTA) that one scene be removed," said Caroline Brumm, acting principal at Burbank High.

Kaiser Permanante agreed to remove that scene, which was so humorous in nature that Brumm said it distracted from the serious issue of AIDS.

"It was so funny that it was hard to get the audience back," she said.

Andrea Canady, the Burbank school district's director of curriculum instruction, said the play has already been performed twice at John Burroughs High School and has been shown at Burbank High in previous years.

Glendale school district officials said they canceled the play because it conflicted with their policy. The play was later performed at a local library and the Glendale school board is scheduled to consider a new set of guidelines Tuesday. Those new guidelines may be the basis for reconsidering whether to allow the play to be performed at Hoover High School.

Brumm said parents have until March 31 to file a form with the school saying that they will not allow their children to attend the performance. State law prohibits schools from forcing parents to send children to presentations involving sex education, Brumm said.

Canady said parents are allowed to review all materials involving sex education for their children twice a year.

The 50-minute performance is the story of a high school senior, Eddie, and his girlfriend, Monica. Eddie learns he has become HIV-positive from sharing an intravenous needle. But even before that discovery, his girlfriend has already has told her friends that she does not plan to have sex with Eddie.

The play has been shown to 700,000 high school students in Southern California during the past eight years.

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