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Suffering in Silence

Teachers with AIDS and the Moral School Community


Catherine Zappulla

300n in its second decade, the ignorance around AIDS persists. Suffering in Silence presents true accounts of HIV positive teachers who suffer for years in silence for fear of being isolated in their educational workplaces. Extreme anxiety over possible rejection by peers and the school community forces them to be silent. HIV becomes the terrible «secret» that they must bear alone. The school proves to be a difficult place as these teachers experience a poignant struggle between keeping and revealing their secret, between lying and telling the truth. Ultimately, the progression of their illness to full-blown AIDS makes it physically impossible to maintain silence. What happens to them when the private and public spheres collide, when the veil of secrecy is torn away and their AIDS status revealed? What was once private now enters the public domain, open to scrutiny and judgment. With a perspective on schools as «moral communities», the decisions and choices of the administrative authorities, both as individuals and as institutional representatives, have broad ethical implications as they decide whether teachers with AIDS can continue as active members of their school communities.