Views of school superintendents on schools and acquired immune deficiency syndrome

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The purpose of the study was to describe the personal views of superintendents and their opinions of their school boards' views in regard to schools and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The population for this study included the superintendents identified by a panel of jurors, on the basis of reputational excellence, for inclusion in"The Executive Educator 100" and published in the February 1987 issue of the Executive Educator.

The study utilized survey research methodology to address the following questions: what are the personal views of superintendents, what are the relationships between these views and certain demographic characteristics and what are the relationships between the superintendents' responses and their opinion of their school boards' views?

Eight items were identified on which superintendents were most evenly divided in their response. These items included the following statements: the current curriculum was sufficient for students to develop a comprehensive understanding of the causality and nature of AIDS, schools should be responsible for the shaping of attitudes and responses of students to the possibility of transmission of AIDS, schools should provide counseling for family members of student AIDS victims, an AIDS education inservice program should be mandatory for all certificated personnel, the school curriculum should specifically address the moral and values issues associated with AIDS, students with AIDS should be excluded from participation in contact sports programs, persons with AIDS should not be protected by Federal antidiscrimination legislation, and district policies should not differentiate between AIDS and any other communicable disease or virus. Superintendent response was found to be affected by respondents' sex, promotion to the superintendency, the identification of AIDS as an issue affecting schools, years experience in education, community description of district served, race, district enrollment size and whether or not the respondent had participated in an AIDS information workshop. There was a high degree of concurrence between the superintendents' views and their beliefs of their school boards' views regarding schools and AIDS. Only the issues of condom distribution in schools indicated an anticipated conflict in opinion.