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Letters

There was much city could, and should, have done before Garrity’s ruling

RE “A gap wider than ever” by Yvonne Abraham (Metro, June 22): Even back in the 1970s, the air that the Diver family breathed in the South End was somewhat more rarefied than that which we were breathing in neighborhoods such as South Boston. Indeed, well before busing, parents should have been horrified at what was happening to their children’s education.

Boston Public Schools were in a sorry state. “Smart kids” went to Girls’ and Boys’ Latin. Public school students transferring to the parochial school I attended came in a grade lower than the one they left. Sadly, it wasn’t until children were being bused to other neighborhoods inhabited by people of color that there rose a hue and cry.

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There was nothing sudden about busing. We had the Civil Rights Act of 1964 concerning desegregation. In 1968, the Supreme Court ruled that states must dismantle segregated school systems. Where were the members of the Boston School Committee? Why weren’t they coming up with plans to ease the children of Boston into some sort of humane transition? They were too busy thinking about which office they’d run for next, telling bewildered parents to dig in their heels.

What were we left with? We had children who witnessed adults at their ugliest, who were pulled out of school, who learned only to have contempt for education and authority, and who then gave birth to their own children. There’s plenty of blame to go around concerning busing, the least of which should be placed at the feet of Judge W. Arthur Garrity.

Georgianna Johnson

South Boston

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