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Junior High Music Teacher Died From AIDS

April 28, 1986

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) _ A junior high school principal has sent letters to students’ parents assuring them that a music teacher who recently died from AIDS posed no health threat to their children.

Neither officials of Eastern Junior High School nor the school system were aware that LeRoy Book Jr. had AIDS, the letter said. Book, 55, of New Canaan, had taught at the school for 19 years before he died April 4.

″However, from all we know regarding Lee’s professional performance at Eastern and how people acquire the disease, the students and staff at Eastern are in no health danger,″ the letter said.

Principal Benjamin Davenport met Friday with his staff and then mailed the letter to the parents of every student. Local school and health officials had learned from the Greenwich Time newspaper that Book died from acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Davenport said students would be told the facts of Book’s death today and AIDS-education classes would be held Tuesday and Wednesday. School Superintendent Ernest Fleishman said the classes had been planned for May but were moved up because of Book’s death.

Fleishman met Friday with town officials to try and determine why the local health department and the school were not informed by the state health department that Book was being treated for AIDS. State health department policy is to keep AIDS patients’ identities confidential.

The school board passed a policy March 25 stating that an advisory panel would decide whether a student or teacher with AIDS could remain at a school. The policy was based on the assumption that the state would inform the town when a case of AIDS was reported in Greenwich.

The AIDS virus attacks the body’s immune system, leaving victims susceptible to infections and cancers. AIDS is most often transmitted through sexual contact or the sharing of contaminated hypodermic needles or syringes.

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