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Frank Power press conference/interview

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Summary
Frank Power talks about the opening day at Charlestown High School in 1975
Topics
Busing for school integration--Massachusetts--Boston--History, School faculty, School integration--Massachusetts--Boston--History, Segregation, Civil rights, Charlestown High School (Boston, Mass.), Bunker Hill Housing Project
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Log

0:53:59: Visual: Media crews surround Frank Power (Headmaster, Charlestown High School) as he responds to questions at the foot of the Bunker Hill Monument, across the street from Charlestown High School. On the defensive, Power insists that the opening day was routine and refuses to comment on the police presence. He reports that 315 students out of 873 attended school. He insists that the school and the teachers were ready for opening day; that he didn't feel any tension in the building. Powers reports that the school will contact all students who were not present and request that they attend school. Shot of an MDC police officer on horseback outside of Charlestown High School. Power insists again that the opening was routine. Power responds in a hostile manner to a reporter asking about relations between African American and white students; he says that he did not spend the day in the classrooms with the students.

0:56:36: V: Power insists that he was inside the school all day and was not aware of happenings outside of the building. He reports that seven buses brought students to the school; that some white students are bused in from Forest Hills; that the projected enrollment figure is high and includes students who may have finished school over the summer. On the defensive, Power responds that he does not know how many Charlestown students boycotted school; that he will count the number of Charlestown students attending school only if it is required of him. Power notes that he has been headmaster for eight years. Shot of police officers lined up outside of Charlestown High School.

0:58:42: V: Power asks the reporters why they don't ask more good questions. He happily responds to a "good" question about how he prepared the teachers for opening day. He says that the teachers at the school performed magnificently; that he would like to thank them through the media. Power responds that he has suspended the flexible campus program due to safety concerns; that there is no lunchroom at the school; that the students eat lunch in their homerooms. He insists again that the opening was routine, but with fewer students. Shot of three men tending to broken fence on Monument Square. Power reminds the media that the Public Information Center has attendance statistics; that he estimates racial breakdown to be 235 white students, 66 African Americans and 14 other minorities; that he will work to bring attendance numbers up. Power explains again why the projected enrollment figure is high.

1:02:07: V: Shot of a large crowd of helmeted police officers outside of Charlestown High School. Paul deGive interviews Power. Power responds to complaints that he turned away students by explaining the school's late policy. He insists that he did not turn away students who arrived late if they had a note from their parents; that parents could call and alert him that their students were arriving late. Power says that the opening day was routine and insists that he noticed no tension; that the flexible campus program would be suspended for safety reasons; that the flexible campus program and other programs might be reinstated eventually; that the racial breakdown was 235 white students, 66 African Americans and 14 other minorities; that the projected enrollment figure was high; that he will try to bring attendance numbers up by contacting absentee students. Power refuses to make guesses as to whether more whites or more African Americans stayed out of school. DeGive thanks Power and ends interview.

1:06:54: V: DeGive and Power speak to one another informally. Power speaks to other reporters. The crew does extra takes of deGive.

1:09:11: V: DeGive prepares to interview Peggy King and Gertrude Hayes (residents, Bunker Hill Housing Project) as they sit with some children outside of a building in the Bunker Hill Housing Project. King does not want her children bused out of Charlestown because a new school has been built there. Both women resent the police presence. They do not believe that the police should be allowed inside the housing project. King has four children who were to be bused; she sent them to schools in Wakefield, Lynn and Dorchester to avoid busing. The crew does several takes of this exchange. King says that she cannot afford parochial schools, but knows they are an option. She believes the situation in Charlestown will get worse. Hayes does not believe that younger children should be bused at all. The children become noisy; the crew tells them to quiet down. King thinks that more families will send their students out of Boston. Hayes has three children who were to be bused; she is going to try to send them to school in Somerville. The women agree that the busing plan primarily affects poor families from the housing project; that the plan discriminates against them. The crew does extra takes of deGive interviewing the women. Hayes talks about her efforts to enroll her students in Somerville schools; King talks about fighting the court order.

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