open Vault

WGBH Media Library and Archives

Leona Pleas talks about busing in Boston

  • Cite

Summary
Leona Pleas talks about busing in Boston
Topics
Busing for school integration--Massachusetts--Boston--History, Race relations, Segregation in education--Massachusetts--Boston--History, Segregation, Civil rights, Charlestown High School (Boston, Mass.), Boston Home and School Association, Boston School Department, First National Bank of Boston, Stonehill College, Baumeister, Ed, Bell, Caroline, Bullard, Pam, Carter, Georgia, Coakley, John, deGive, Paul, Fahey, Marion, Filadoro, John, Gittens, Richard, Jones, Nathaniel, Kelly, Suzanne, Moore, Harietta, O'Reilly, Gail, Quirico, Francis, Rattash, Judy, Stoia, Judy
Tags (0)
Add Tag Add Annotation

Log

23:00:02: Ed Baumeister introduces a special Evening Compass broadcast featuring information on the school situation. Baumeister reports that the city is calm; that federal marshals are ready to act if there are any signs of a disturbance. Opening credits roll. Paul deGive reports that school attendance was 64.9%. Baumeister reports that there is still confusion over school assignments for some students. [ V: Footage of Marion Fahey (Superintendent, Boston Public Schools) saying that the general climate of the schools is "excellent"; that there have been no arrests in the schools. Baumeister reports that there were 14 arrests in Boston today; that 94 have been arrested since the opening of school; that 9 police officers have been injured.

23:02:25: Greg Pilkington reports on African American students assigned to Charlestown High School. V: Footage of African American students boarding buses at corner of Lenox and Tremont Streets, near the Cathedral Housing Project in the South End; of African American students riding buses. Pilkington reports that Charlestown has been the center of resistance to Phase II busing; that many African American students assigned to Charlestown schools did not attend the opening day of school for fear of violence; that there was no violence in the schools or along the bus routes on opening day. V: Footage of Pilkington interviewing parents at the bus stop. Caroline Bell (local resident) says that her two sons were assigned to the Holden School in Charlestown; that her sons were apprehensive about going to school in Charlestown; that they were pleased with the school when they returned home after the first day. Harietta Moore (local resident) says that four of her children were assigned to schools in Charlestown; that they did not attend the opening day of school; that they will attend school today because the schools in Charlestown appear to be peaceful. Robert Kelley (student) says that a crowd threw rocks at his bus as he was leaving school in Charlestown; that the climate inside the school was fine. Galina Davis (student) says that a crowd outside of her school in Charlestown was insulting the African American students. Footage of buses lined up to pick up students at a bus stop. Pilkington says that the busing of students from the South End to Charlestown was uneventful yesterday; that the absence of a bus monitor caused some confusion. V: Footage of Georgia Carter (local resident) saying that parents were concerned about their children riding buses without bus monitors. John Filadoro (bus driver) says that a bus monitor would have calmed the fears of the kids on the bus; that the police did a good job of breaking up crowds and easing tension on the streets; that he thinks his bus might have a bus monitor today. Leona Pleas (bus monitor) says that she came out today because she heard that bus monitors were needed; that she has a child assigned to school in Charlestown; that white parents should send their kids to school because a child's education is more important than politics; that more African American students are on the bus today to go to Charlestown.

23:06:45: Pilkington reports that 85 African American students attended Charlestown High School today; that the attendance figure for African American students at the high school is 38%; that a group of parents in Roxbury is urging African American parents to send their children to school in Charlestown. Pilkington interviews Richard Gittens (bus monitor and transitional aide, Charlestown High School) in the studio. Gittens says that the climate is good at Charlestown High School; that the principal at Charlestown High School is doing a good job; that there have been no problems between white and African American students; that the school situation is normal, despite the violence on the streets in Charlestown. Gittens says that he is among a group of parents urging others to send their children to school in Charlestown; that they hope for 100% attendance among African American students by Friday. Gittens says that African American parents and students are pleased with the middle school in Charlestown; that African American parents and students have found that there is a difference between schools in Charlestown and schools in African American neighborhoods. Gittens says white and African American parents need to send their kids to school, no matter how they feel about busing. Gittens says that the violence on the streets in Charlestown has not affected the educational climate in the high school. Gittens leaves the set.

23:11:14: Pilkington interviews Nathaniel Jones (general counsel, NAACP) in the studio about desegregation issues and the court case which brought desegregation to Boston (Morgan v. Hennigan). Jones says that the resolve of the government to enforce the court order has resulted in a peaceful opening of schools in Boston. Jones says that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit brought the case to court because the Constitutional rights of their children were being violated; that the court's decision in Morgan v. Hennigan is in line with the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education; that it is unconstitutional for a school board to make policy which results in a segregated school system. Jones says that segregation is harmful to both white children and African American children; that segregated schools are inherently unequal; that Judge Garrity's ruling eliminates segregation and tries to remedy the harm caused by segregation to white and African American children in Boston. Jones says that popular opinion about busing is irrelevant; that the Constitutional rights of the minority must be protected; that busing does not compromise a child's education; that busing has been used in the past to enforce segregation; that 3% of children in the US are bused for the purposes of desegregation. Jones says that he can understand why African Americans might have reservations about busing; that in the past, the burden of busing fell on the African American community; that the court order calls for students of both races to be bused in Boston; that the rights of African American students must be protected.

23:17:40: Baumeister reports that attendance at Hyde Park High School was 70% today; that African American attendance was 65%; that white attendance was 74%; that the school has opened peacefully this year. Baumeister reports that the pairing of Hyde Park High School with Stonehill College and the First National Bank of Boston led to the creation of Student Leadership Teams to deal with racial tension.

23:18:33: Judy Stoia interviews Renee Burke (student, Hyde Park High School), Donald McCarthy (student, Hyde Park High School) in the studio. Burke and McCarthy are members of the Hyde Park Biracial Leadership Team. Burke says that the training she received as a member of the team helped her; that the training brought the team closer together. McCarthy says that the training took place at Stonehill College; that members of the group have learned to trust one another. Burke says that members of the team are working as student aides in the school. McCarthy says that the team can set a good example for the other students; that the 52 members of the team can show that African American and white students can get along. Burke says that there has been a lessening of tension in the school; that team members can help to mediate problems among students. McCarthy says that there is much less tension this year than last year. Burke says that she hopes that the example of the biracial team will encourage more interaction between African American and white students. McCarthy says that interaction between the two groups will happen gradually; that there are probably a few resentments carried over from the previous year.

23:22:55: Stoia interviews Judy Rattash (First National Bank of Boston), Suzanne Kelly (Stonehill College) and Gail O'Reilly (teacher, Hyde Park High School) in the studio. Rattash says that the First National Bank will continue some of its pilot programs from the previous year at Hyde Park High School; that the bank developed a successful computer course taught at their facility in Columbia Park during the previous year; that the bank is developing a program called World of Work, in which students learn interview and resume techniques. Rattash says that students get hands-on experience with computers in the computer course. Kelly says that Stonehill College would like to expand the leadership program at Hyde Park High School; that they would like to get more students involved in one-day leadership workshops at the college. Kelly says that she is presently writing proposals to get funding for programs through the state legislature; that some programs may begin before the funds become available at the end of September. Kelly says that there are plans for academic enrichment programs, an ethnic studies program, an ethnic crafts course, and a radio production; that the programs take place at Stonehill College and at Hyde Park High School. O'Reilly says that she likes the programs available through Stonehill College and the First National Bank; that the bank's reading tutorial program will continue this year; that both the bank and the college will participate in the school newspaper. Rattash says that other outside organizations are interested in the schools; that the Greater Boston Real Estate Board may try to work with teachers to develop a curriculum for students at Hyde Park High School; that the bank will encourage the Junior Achievement program at Hyde Park High School. Burke says that students will be especially interested in the newspaper program.

23:29:57: Paul deGive reports that Massachusetts Superior Court Justice Francis Quirico has refused to lift an injuction blocking the city of Boston from paying legal fees for the Boston Home and School Association; that the city of Boston had paid over $50,000 until African American parents brought the city to court. DeGive reports that the Boston Home and School Association will seek private funds in order to continue to fight the court order; that the Home and School Association is slated to argue the desegregation plan in front of the First Circuit Court of Appeals next week.

23:30:56: Baumeister reports that John Coakley was praised for his performance last year as Boston's chief school desegregation planner; that he was appointed head of the city-wide magnet schools by William Leary (former Superintendent of Schools); that he was not reappointed to that post by the new superintendent Marion Fahey. Baumeister reports that Judge Garrity has requested that Coakley stay in the post until the end of September.

23:31:09: Pam Bullard interviews John Coakley in the studio. Bullard asks why there are more problems with transportation and student assignments this year. Coakley says that the school department had more time to implement the Phase I plan after it was handed down from the court; that the Phase II plan was more complex, and the schools had less time to implement it. Coakley says that organizing bus transit is very complex; that the school department did the best it could in the time allowed. Bullard reports that elementary school attendance city-wide was 70%; that elementary school attendance in Dorchester was 74%; that elementary school attendance in East Boston was 76%; that attendance in elementary-level magnet schools was 80%. Coakley says that parents choose magnet schools; that the magnet schools are well established and carry over a sizable population from year to year. Bullard asks Coakley if the magnet schools can continue to pull in students and reverse the trend of declining enrollments. Coakley says that the Boston area provides great resources to the magnet schools; that universities, hospitals, and other institutions are participating in magnet school programs. Bullard reports that attendance at high schools is down 7% from last year; that attendance at middle schools is up 11% from last year; that attendance at elementary schools is down 18% from last year. Coakley says that many elementary schools were unaffected by Phase I desegregation; that elementary schools are losing students because more schools are affected by Phase II desegregation this year. Coakley says that he thinks some elementary school students may have left public schools for reasons other than desegregation. Bullard asks Coakley to compare the opening of schools this year to the opening of schools last year. Coakley says that he is more optimistic about the schools this year; that public safety issues are being handled more effectively this year; that many residents, parents, and students do not wish to see a repeat of last year's violence; that many are trying to recover their pride in the city, which may have been lost last year. Coakley says that Phase II desegregation did try to incorporate educational improvements with desegregation; that the magnet schools are an example of this; that the involvement of universities and other institutions in the schools can provide some momentum for a more dynamic school system.

23:40:25: Bumeister reports on Evening Compass broadcasts for the following day. DeGive reminds viewers that Edwin Diamond (media critic) will analyze media coverage of busing on the tomorrow's late edition of Evening Compass. DeGive closes the show. Credits roll.

Enter the timecode: