LEARNING BY HEART by David L. Kirp

LEARNING BY HEART

AIDS and Schoolchildren in America
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Case histories of how nine school-systems and their communities reacted when faced with a student afflicted with the AIDS virus or living with someone with AIDS. AIDS, says Kirp (coauthor, Gender Justice, 1985), has pitted deeply engrained American beliefs in the innocence of children, as well as a concern for their welfare, against equally deep gut-feelings that parents must take a stand against AIDS in the classroom because of the minuscule possibility of its accidental spread. Among the case studies: The refusal of the Oscilla, Georgia, school system to accept healthy children living with an AIDS-afflicted relative--a decision that has separated three black youngsters from their mothers; the response in Swansea, Mass., to the news that a 13-year-old boy with hemophilia had developed AIDS, culminating in an old-fashioned town meeting at which educators and health officials laid out the facts and pled his case--he was welcomed back to school. There is also the case of the California school superintendent who summarily suspended an AIDS-afflicted kindergartener who had bitten a larger child in a roughhouse. The resulting court case determined that under federal law the child had the same right to a classroom education as that mandated for the handicapped. For the many school systems facing increasing numbers of AIDS students, this book carries an important message: Educators and health officials must be open and aboveboard with teachers and parents, and prepared to mount a campaign of education and information in order to avoid the school boycotts, violence, and litigation of the recent past.

Pub Date: May 12th, 1989
ISBN: 8135-1396-0
Publisher: Rutgers Univ.
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