Dear Parent or Guardian:
HIV/AIDS is one of the most serious health problems Americans have ever faced. It has no cure, and education is the only way we can help our students protect themselves from the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Our school will begin to teach your child about Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The New York State Education Department and the New York City Department of Education have mandated that HIV/AIDS education be provided for all students in Kindergarten through Grade 12. This mandate states that HIV/AIDS instruction, which includes five consecutive lessons, must be age-appropriate and address the nature of the disease, the methods of transmission, and methods of prevention. Abstinence from alcohol and other drug use and sexual intercourse is emphasized as the most appropriate and effective method of prevention for students. Lessons focus on developing an understanding of communicable diseases, ways to live a healthy life, and how to identify community resources that can help enhance the quality of life.
State Regulations require that all students attend lessons on the nature of the disease and methods of transmission. However, parents or legal guardians have the right to ask that their child not participate in the lessons dealing with methods of prevention. These lessons are labeled “Prevention.” Parents or legal guardians who do make such a request must file with the principal of their child’s school a written request that the child not receive such instruction, and assure that the pupil will receive such instruction at home.
An HIV/AIDS advisory council composed of Panel on Educational Policy members, community representatives, parents, teachers, and supervisors has thoroughly reviewed and approved the curriculum and related materials to be used. The curriculum has also been reviewed and approved by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Encourage your child to speak with you about HIV/AIDS. You might wish to point out newspaper or magazine articles about HIV/AIDS issues that you can discuss together. Or you and your child might watch television programs about HIV/AIDS together. Doing so can help you reinforce your child’s awareness of how HIV is transmitted, and present opportunities for you and your child to discuss how abstaining from sexual intercourse and alcohol and other drug use is the most appropriate and effective way for children to protect their health and their futures.
We welcome your involvement at school. For example, parents are needed on high school HIV/AIDS teams and to coordinate PTA presentations about HIV/AIDS. Speak to your child’s teacher, parent coordinator, or me about how you can support HIV/AIDS lessons.
If you have any questions regarding this program or would like to review HIV/AIDS curriculum materials, please do not hesitate to call. You can find the complete curriculum here:
All students are mandated to participate in the course of lessons throughout the week (lessons 1-4). Please note, if you do not want your child to participate in the HIV/AIDS fifth and final instruction lesson of the series, please write a letter to your child’s teacher.
If you give permission for your child to take part in the HIV/AIDS Awareness/Prevention lesson #5, then you do not need to respond. No response will automatically provide your child with consent to participate.