Fairfax County

The following were among the actions taken at the Dec. 3 meeting of the Fairfax County School Board. For more information, call 691-2991.

AIDS EDUCATION -- The School Board approved a program to teach students in grades seven through 12 about AIDS and to train fifth- and sixth-grade teachers to answer student questions about the disease.

The instruction will emphasize abstinence from sex and intravenous drugs as the best way to avoid the fatal viral disease, which is transmitted by blood and semen. But the classes also will note that condoms and spermicide can reduce the risks of the disease.

The vote was 9 to 0, with Chairman Mary Collier abstaining after her motion to deemphasize condoms and spermicides failed for want of a second.

Under current policy, students below ninth grade receive no instruction about AIDS. In high school, individual principals now decide how to teach older students about it.

Under the new program, parental permission will be required for students to attend the classes in seventh and eighth grade, and girls and boys will be taught separately in those grades. In high school, the classes will be coeducational, with no parental permission slip required. However, parents of ninth and tenth grade students may withdraw their children from the courses.

At the board public hearing, about a dozen county parents protested that the materials did not sufficiently emphasize sexual abstinence and they objected to any mention of birth control devices. The board decided to remove some proposed materials, including a line in a film in which an AIDS patient says, "you need to practice safe sex and be careful who you are with."

But other speakers at the public hearing, including representatives of the County Council of PTAs and the Student Advisory Council, generally supported the proposed instruction materials. The nonvoting student representative on the School Board, Jason Hintz, said the board should not have altered some proposed materials, because students would "turn off" the edited versions.

BRADDOCK PARK -- Board member Kohann Whitney proposed reconsideration of the board's Nov. 19 decision on what grades to include next year at the new Braddock Park school, but her motion failed on a 5-to-5 tie.

The board decided to open the new school with grades seven through nine, and add a tenth grade only if a survey of prospective students for that class reveals that at least 250 students do want to attend the new school. In later years, other grades will be added and the lower grades will be removed, so by the 1991-1992 school year the school will include only grades nine through 12.

Whitney said literature distributed to voters prior to the 1984 bond referendum which funded the new school said it would initially include grades seven through 10. But other board members said they did not want to reopen the subject after making a decision.

Whitney and board members Letty Fleetwood, Olivia Michener, Anthony Lane and Laura McDowall supported reconsidering the decision, but the other five members opposed it. Under the board's rules of procedure, a motion to reconsider a previous plan fails in a tie, and may not be reintroduced at a later meeting.