The Philadelphia school board election heated up yesterday as about 15 members of the AIDS activist group ACT-UP, including a University student, staged a protest, hurling condoms at board members and chanting "Teach safe sex. Condoms now." College senior Brian Pomerantz said last night that shortly after he approached board members, a security guard kicked him out of the meeting. Pomerantz said he and other ACT-UP members were verbally attacking the board for not widely distributing condoms and not increasing AIDS prevention education in schools. Pomerantz said that the protest was organized to "put [the school board] on notice that they better do something now, we won't stand for bureaucratic delays." ACT-UP members began their protest after the meeting's scheduled elections were completed, according to the College senior. Some ACT-UP members threw condoms, Pomerantz said, as a "visual symbol" to help people get over what he termed a "fear" of condoms. "It should be as easy for a kid to get a condom as a band-aid, actually easier," Pomerantz said. One ACT-UP member, Paul Champion, approached board members with letters demanding each board member's view on ACT-UP demands within ten days, Pomerantz said. When a school board member told Champion that he was " 'out of order,' " Pomerantz said he jumped up and yelled back " 'No, you're out of order.' " Pomerantz said that he then approached the board and continued yelling until the security guard removed him. Pomerantz said that after the meeting, School Board President Ruth Hayre and Philadelphia School Superintendent Constance Clayton expressed a desire to organize a meeting with ACT-UP members in the near future. Hayre, who was elected school board president at yesterday's meeting, said after the meeting that she did not mind the protest. "We have to hear what's on people's minds. I can remember the time when I thought a condom was another word for condominium," Hayre said. Hayre could not be reached for further comment last night. The Associated Press contributed to this story.Comments powered by Disqus
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