Clipped From The Pittsburgh Courier
Expect peace in 3rd year of school busing By David M.Rosen BOSTON i I'PI ) - Officials are hopeful the pattern of tension and sporadic violence set in the past two years will be broken Wednesday when 7H.IHM) students return to classes in the third year of court - ordered desegregation. Around 22. 500 students this year will be bused to IV) public schools during the third phase of a bitterly fought desegregation program ordered by V S District Judge W. Arthur Garritv Jr The first two years of desegregation were characterized by widespread resistance, marches and occasional violent confrontations between blacks and whites Most officials think this year will becalmer "I am optimistic that the opening of schwls in Boston will be peaceful and successful," said Gov. Michael S. Dukakis. "I am particularly encouraged that more and more attention is being paid to the key issue of the quality of education in the Boston schools," he added "We will help the city in every way we can to ensure that each student receives a decent education." Boston school committee Chairman John J McDonough said, "I'm hopeful we will have a peaceful opening of schools this fall, with more teaching and learning taking place. In most schools I feel there will be less racial tension." Fifteen - hundred fewer students will be bused this year than during 1975's violence - plagued second phase. But since school enrollment has decreased by more than 6,MM), the percentage of students bused will increase slightly Despite the percentage increase in busing, the number of student reassignments will be reduced to increase educational continuity and minimize disruption In addition. Phase III will not significantly expand desegregation into previously untouched communities. Still excluded from the desegregation plan is the high school in East Boston, an Italian - American section connected to the rest of the citv bv a tunnel under Boston harbor. Opposition to busing has not diminished among many whites, but some of the staunchest opponents are among the parents of the 2,(XM) students who in the past three years have left Boston public schools to attend private parochial or suburban schools. McDonough, who heads the elected board charged with setting educational policy for the schools, said after two years students should be "more relaxed" with each other and their teachers. He said education should improve. Boston Police Commissioner Robert Digrazia, whose officers have been caught in the middle of the controversy, said there appears to be less emotion over busing this year. Digrazia said no decisions on police deployment have been made yet He said final plans will not be formulated until his staff has completed meetings with state and federal law enforcement officials and school department personnel. Last year, large numbers of police were stationed in around some of the most troubled schools, particularly South Boston high school, which was placed in federal receivership by garnty, an action which remains a sore point between garnty and local officials. Digrazia said he would prefer not to put police in and around schools this year but added, "we'll have to see what the 'lay of the land' is so to speak. "The role of the police department is not intended to be an army of oc - , cupation . the police don't like being involved. We recognize it as a job we must do regardless of personal preferences. "That job is to provide for the safety of students who want to go to school and get an education. We will do our job again this year. We ask that grown - ups act as grown - ups " Marion Fahey, in her second year as school superintendent, said her last year demonstrated the schools are safe She said a department of school security services has been set up this year to improve conditions further. "In short, parents can send their children to school with all the assurances humanly possible there will be an environment conducive to learning " She said she is "diametrically opposed" to uniformed police in schools unless and until needed William Wimberly, member of the citywide coordinating council set up by Garnty to monitor desegregation, said "I think the emotional climate is right now. Parents understand busing is not going to go away It's here and must be dealt with " Wimberly said that this year, for the first time, parents are involved in all phases of the school system He said they are "asking questions and demanding answers "