Understanding October 1985
THE REAL PROBLEM
There are times in the life of any editor of a small publication, when he or she cannot help feeling a certain frustration at their inability to reach a larger portion of the public with simple facts which seem to cry out for understanding, but which are completely ignored by the media, especially in cases where continuing controversy exists. Many persons are prone to rush to the defense of one side or the other in such cases, out of a feeling of innate fairness or justice, but without really grasping the full meaning of that which they are defending.
A typical example is the controversy which has been raging for several weeks, in the public schools, in the press, in radio and television broadcasts, and extending even to our courts of law, as to whether a child who has contracted AIDS should be allowed to attend a public school. Newspaper articles by the dozen, have been printed and entire television program;, have been devoted to the subject, yet the only question that has been raised, at the time of this writing, is whether or not a student with AIDS is a danger to the rest of the class, and whether or not the AIDS student should be allowed to attend the class for that reason: Not once in all of the discussion and argument has the real question been raised, or the real facts been put forth for consideration!
The real question, and the one that should be considered first and foremost is – Should the AIDS child attend classes at any public school, NOT because the child is a danger to the class, but because the class is a constant and deadly danger to the child! AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) means simply that the child, or adult’s, body has lost the ability to defend itself against even the simplest of the pathogenic bacteria with which it comes in contact. The life of the AIDS victim depends therefore, upon avoiding contact with all such bacteria; and that, unfortunately, means avoiding contact with other people, and especially with groups. While the AIDS victim cannot, through any normal contact, infect his fellow students, any one of them, even though perfectly healthy themselves, can pass on to him bacteria which can end his life quickly.
Medical Science is making progress in understanding the nature of the AIDS virus, and it is probable that within another year or two a means of doping with its effects, or even a cure, may be found, but if the remedy is to be of any value to those now suffering the illness, they will have to find a way to survive until it is available.
The judge who decides whether a child with AIDS should attend school should base his decision, not on how much danger the child is to the class, which is probably nil, but on how much danger the class is to the child, which may be great!
(signed Daniel W Fry)