Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 29, 1975 · Page 71
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 71

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 29, 1975
Page 71
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Sunday Gazette-Mail The Page Opposite Charleston, W.Va. Juie2$,1975 PageSE "Tfce really tough barriers are the prejudices that live in people's, minds," said Ernest Green, one of "The Little Rock Mne" that desegregated Central High in 1957. In Little Rock today, they are the barriers still, backed by guns and knives. Little Rock Today: 1957 Barriers Remain LITTLE ROCK (AP) - It's been nearly 18 years since a handful of black chil- dren-l'The Little Rock Nine"-entered Central High School under the protection . of 11,000 paratroopers and National Guardsmen. ; The nation's eyes have turned away : from Little Rock'since. Central High has a black principal and more than half its students are black. But it also has two "campus supervi- , sors" -- essentially unarmed security men^who pard the main entrance and '·· patrol with walkie-talkies. The school, indeed the entire school district, suffers from an abnormal scholastic crime rate. Last November a black junior high stu- 'i dent was shot to death by another black student during school hours. In December,.authorities found a black student with a .22 caliber revolver tucked in his belt; ..-,'·.;.'·' In January, William Robinson, 18, white; was expelled. He brought a sawed- off .410 shotgun to school, school officials said, and showed it to black students as a warning. In March, two young black students were expelled from Central after a fight in which; school officials said, a gun was used to threaten other black students. . . ' . ' . ' · . · * . ' IN THE SAME month, WaddeU Smith, 14, was expelled after threatening students with a gun during a fight involving blacks and whites on a school bus. The young black, said the bus driver, fired two shots in the air after leaving the bus. In the same month, Paul Vines, a 14-year-old eighth grader at Horace Mann Junior High was expelled for carrying a gun. Vines is white. "1 don't ever want to go back to Horace Mann," he said. "Things are really bad there." He protested that he hadn't intended to use the gun. He was only, at the behest of a friend, trying to sell it. "It turned out to be stolen," He said, "My friend figured the best place to sell the gun would be at By MARC WILSON school." And in May, Larry Barnes, 15, was expelled from Dunbar Junior High after he threatened a white student with a small caliber pistol. . "I did it because this anglo was hassling me," Barnes said. "They pistol-whipped another guy the week before and they said they were going to get me next." Barnes a black, vowed he never would get into "bad trouble like this again" because he wants to play basketball in school. But nevertheless, he said, "there are plenty of guns and knives at Dunbar. If you'd check through all the lockers you'd find three or four guns and loads of knives." All of this in less than two decades since Little Rock became in 1957, the prime example of resistance to the Supreme Court decision of -June 1954, to desegregate schools. Now again, Little Rock is the focus of charge and countercharge. Is discipline being fairly levied? What is the source of the problem? Is it white? Or black? THE SCHOOL district has hired campus supervisors to police the 22,127 students in its schools. This spring authorities even confiscated a pistol from a first grader. The school board has adopted a policy of mandatory expulsion of any student caught with a firearm, and 17 of those caught with guns have been expelled this year. : : In addition, one of every 16 black students (one of every eight black males) has been suspended for disciplinary reasons. In numbers, that means that of 919 students suspended, 580 were black males against 128 white males, and 180 were black females against 31 white females. The district has 11,2312 black students and 10,895 whites. "The suspensions have nothing to do with race," says Dr. Paul Fair, the district superintendent. "We suspend on the basis of action, without reference to race. It just seems to happen that more blacks are suspended than whites." Fair says the discipline problems in Little Rock are "no worse than elsewhere in the country." Yet, according to a federal government survey of discipline in the nation's schools in 1974, blacks accounted for 37 per cent of the expulsions and 42 per cent of the suspensions. Blacks made up 27 per cent of the enrollment in the 2,908 school districts surveyed. The school board has urged parents tyj "use criminal remedies : in response^ iife| school conflicts," and has asked the courts to "impose maximum penalties for illegal "· possession of firearms." A U.S. district court suit has challenged the school board's discipline and criminal prosecution policies. Lawyer John Walker, a long-time black civil rights activist, filed the suit on behalf of .50 black male students. It alleges: "The school .system's suspension and .expulsion rules and regulations are vague, indefinite and unclear, making possible arbitrary and racially discriminatory decision mak- i n g ..." -, : . . . · : , . . . · · · ; The suit is expected to go to trial this summer. , The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People filed a comf plaint with the Justice Department in March, challenging the school district's discipline policies. - . · · . - , . Rufus C. Huffman, NAACP southern education field director in Tuskegee, Ala., says the discipline policies "have negated the benefits of the desegregation. In some instances, the new desegragated system has proved more deterimental to black children than the old separate-but-equal system. . "School officials think desegregation means the old melting pot concept, where the blacks are assimilated into white society," he said. "But many blacks either: can't or don't want to be assimilated into white society. So the black kids end up out" on the streets. ; . Help for Towns, Cities: Minnesota Breaks Ground ST. PAUL, Minn. -- "Success stories" , in American government seem all too rare in these days of runaway problems and deep citizen disillusionment about the whole public process. But in the proud, vital state of Minnesota, one of the most perplexing issues of the times -- how states can make their localities effective and responsive units of government -- is being addressed in a way that could be a model for the whole nation, : The "secret" of Minnesota's success rests on a combination of factors -- a long tradition of "open" politics;.a feeling that citizens rather than special interests control government, a healthy and diversified economy, and a habit of common-sense approaches to problems that would ensnare many states in emotional and needless controversy. But the heart of Minnesota's approach is one that even less happily-endowed states should take note of: namely, that taxes and problems of social equality, metropolitan and small-town concerns, and the protection of the environment are all intimately related, and that no policy area can be dealt with effectively without close attention to the others. THE SHOWCASE REFORM of modern Minnesota -!- a 1971 tax reform bill that completely revamped school financing -is a case in point. Through dramatically increased state aid to local schools, with the biggest help for poorer school districts, the state made 1 a massive step to- ward'equality of educational opportunity. A second objective was to reduce reliance on what Democratic Gov. Wendell Anderson calls the "most obnoxious" of taxes - the total property tax, which money Item a citizen whether . By Neal R. Peiree he's employed or unemployed, having a good or b'ad year. The 1971 bill rolled back property taxes, replacing the revenue with state aid from an increased, sharply graduated income tax. "We think the income, tax is the fairest, and that's why we rely on it so heavily," according to Anderson. "We would just be lost without it." Another breakthrough in state action to help localities was a 1971 bill for the seven- county Twin Cities region around Minneapolis and St. Paul, where half the state's people live. The measure tries to relieve the intense competition between locab'ties for office buildings, shopping centers or industrial plants, just because they enrich the property tax. Now 40 per cent of the tax yield from any new commercial or industrial property is redistributed to all governments in the metropolitan region, based on population and need. As a result, localities no'longer struggle so hdrd to attract high-yield installations that may despoil their landscape. They are more open to accepting low-and medium- income housing (for which the state has a major loan fund), and to setting aside land for parks and other open-space uses. Thus tax reforms, initially aimed at achieving social equality, end up being vital environmental measures. Minnesota has enacted many growth policy bills -protection of critical scenic, historical or cultural areas, state control of power plant and transmission line sitings, a scenic and wild rivers bill, mandatory environmental impact statements for big housing or industrial projects, and millions of dollars in state aid to regional councils and local governments to let them do their own land use planning in the contAlt of a statewide plan. i the words of State Finance Direc- tor Gerald Christenson, using the state's power to protect the land and environment "is whistling Dixie unless you have tax reform." . , . ' , ' . , *· : " OUTSIDE THE TAX FIELD, Minnesota's most innovative measure in helping local governments in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council, created by the legislature in 1967. The council has its own tax base, gubernatorially-appointed board, members, power of review over all federal aid projects, and control over metropolitan-wide concerns like sewage, transit, airports and parks. Thus it is much niore powerful than the loose-knit COG's (council of governments) operating around the nation. Now the cauncil wants the legislature to approve its ambitious guided growth policy for the Twin Cities area, The plan would control suburban sprawl and preserve scenic and farm areas by channeling growth into the established city centers and a limited number of new freestanding satellite growth centers. The zoning plans of municipalities would have to dovetail with the metropolitan-wide plan. Predictably, some of the new, fast-growing suburbs have voiced hot opposition. The assertive role Minnesota's state government has taken in tax and land use policy looks in one way like a "steal" of local autonomy. There's always a danger that arbitrary state action can have nega- . live results, not the positive ones hoped · for. But by relieving localities of oppressive property taxes and giving them the' money and technical advice they need to plan well, Minnesota may be doing more to enhance good local policymaking, and E -anteeing all its citizens a hopeful fu- in a decent physical environment,' i any other state in the Union. "Of course they'd be better off at the old separate-but-equal schools'-- even if there · wasn't toilet paper in the restrooms." ON MAY 21, the Little Rock Classroom Teachers Assn. released a .report saying: ":.. .increasingly, teachers are fearful of bodily harm at the hands of students they are supposed to be instructing; and supervising." The teachers suggested 37 ways to curb violence. Their suggestions included legislation to bar handguns among young people. Black enrollment in the school district has risen from 25 per cent in 1957 to 51 per cent today, although the black population in the metropolitan area is less than 20 per cent. The faculty and staff is 35 per cent black. Whites have fled the city's schools. In 1957, the white enrollment was 14,497, while in the school year j'us't ended there were 10,895, whites. In 1957, the "separate-but-equal" Little Rock School District was the largest in the state. Today, the Pulaski|County School District, which, surrounds! the core city schools, has an enrollment 20 per cent greater than the Little Rock schools. Pulaski Country schools have an 18 per cent black enrollment. Says Dr. Leonard Thalmueller, assistant superintendent of schools: "Our problems in the schools are a reflection of the community. We've had white flight from the city -- which started before desegregation -- and now we have drug problems and more student militancy. "The kids are bringing their problems to the schools, and we're just trying to deal with them. I guess it says something about society,, everywhere in the nation, that black kids seem to have more problems than whites." When Gov, Orval Faubus ordered the city's high schools closed in 1958, he said: "I have determined that domestic violence within the Little Rock'School District is impending, and that a general suitable and efficient'education system cannot be -maintained in the senior high schools of the Little Rock district because of integration of the races in such schools." Today according to the school board, violence "is the most serious threat to the future of our public schools." ' 'Little Rock will never be the same as it was the morning before we walked through the doors into Central," says Ernest Green, one of the "Little Rock Nine" that integrated the high school. He was the first black to graduate from Central. "But deep down, in terms of racial attitudes, things haven't changed very much," he said. "On the surface things have changed, but underneath Old Dixie still lives. "What we did back then was significant," he said. "But we know now what we didh't know then: that this fight wasn't won in the decade of the 1960s and probably won't be won this decade. "The barriers like all-black schools were the easy things to knock down really," he said. "The really tough barriers are the prejudices that live in people's minds." Green is now an equal opportunity employment counselor in New York, None of the "Little Rock Nine" still lives in Little 'Rock. Most of their'parents lost their jobs 1 the school Crisis, and the families elsewhere. r JenkinL. Jones The Only Question (C) Lait Angelet Timet On Nov. 25, 1973, in Perth. Australia, I picked up the review of an American movie in the Perth Sunday Times. Its critic, Dennis Hancock, said: "The Stars and Stripes is dragged well and truly through the mud in 'Scorpio.' The villian is the CIA, occupying a Big Brother complex which makes the Pentagon look like a country outhouse. "While; its hard-faced automatons plot to murder a colleague, a portrait of Abe Lincoln watches reproachfully from the wall. The only irreproachable character is a dedicated, but gentlemanly, Communist working for Russian intelligence." THIS OBSERVATION from the other side of the world was made well before the hurricane of allegations and charges engulfed the CIA. Sometime in the last few years Hollywood script-writing underwent an interesting change. The treatment previously accorded to the Gestapo and the NKVD was shifted .to the CIA. In consequence, not only has our film industry done pretty well at turning the world off at America (when was the last pro-American movie that you've seen?), but it has helped put much of the nation in a buying mood toward those who are selling the dismantling of our national security. The ROTC is riot "in" on those campuses where it is still tolerated at all. The "military-industrial" complex (whatever that is) has become a juju fetish. The job of undermining the morale and fighting capability of our armed services goes on apace, with quick and furious defenses of homosexuals, race-rioters and mutineers. And now comes the congressional investigation of the CIA. In the 28 years since the agency was formed under Harry Truman, what has it done that was aggressively sinister and could not be condoned by civilized men? Has it, indeed, been quilty of murder, or of ordering murder, or of plotting assassinations whether consummated or not? FOR THE FIRST TIME in the history of any nation the behavior of an intelligence "and counterintelligence agency is about to be hung out on the line. The behavior of such agencies in totalitarian or autocratic nations is never audited. Yet popular government has reason to fear any branch that makes its own law. Spy- masters might go berserk under any flag. But how the laundry is hung on the line is of immense importance. For if irresponsible congressmen (irresponsible, at least, to their oaths) are permitted to wade about in the secret files of the CIA in hip boots we will have no intelligence ncy. ' . ,,,.;'··,- ,-:···'·' ' · . · jtelligence is of two kinds - overt and srt, Overt intelligence (by far the larg- est part) involves compiling information and making deductions from that which openly is printed and said. Covert intelligence involves confidential informers, spies and planted agents. That's the dirty end, often involving theft. But in this world, the passive and timid never stand long against the ruthless. Former Rep. Water Judd has described Russia not as a bear that walks like a man but a conspiracy that walks like a state. It not only has ihe largest and most efficient in- house intelligence system in the history of the world (consider the size of their embassies) but every Communist Party hot affiliated with Mao provides extra eyes and ears. In addition, there are fellow travelers, not affiliated with the party, in every land plus the quiet plants in sensitive places who may die of old age before they're called upon. This is not the paranoia of "little old ladies in tennis shoes." Nor is it a matter of morality. Our side would love to have the capability of penetration that the Russians enjoy. It is simply realism. IT IS REALISTIC to protect your own agents. It is important to know which of them are already known to your potential enemy so that you can make replacements. It is realistic to seek to blow the cover of your potential enemy's agents and to frighten off foreign nationals who may be cooperating with those agents. Unless certain congressmen show more responsibility than they have in the past two weeks all this might be delivered to the Russians gratis. It is one thing to ascertain whether supervision over the CIA by the House and Senate intelligence committees needs to be strengthened, and it is quite another to leak classified information to the press. Are we going to throw out, at the demand of the congressional left, painstakingly gathered information on those within our borders (most of them American citizens) who could be expected to mount the greatest wave of sabotage and subversion we have ever experienced if the balloon really does en un? Arc we going to put our agents abroad and those who feed them information in jeopardy of their lives? , Reform the CIA or wreck it?. That is the cv^ · ·, : ',·.'· . · i ··.-"·· -i ·:; · ·· i, Jf · . 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