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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 11, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta Tucidoy, April 197J _ THE IETHBRIDGE 5 William Millinship Busing: justice or transport question WASHINGTON When an American schocl bus, a bright yellow, old-fashioned style vcliiclc, slops to drop or pick up passengers, if, red lights ,iL front to bring all traffic in Uio vicinity lo a mo- mentary hall. H has now be- come the symbol of nu ,il public outcry Ihal threatens to halt this country's long to break down racial segregation in its schools. Tlicte .ire about scliool buses in the United States. Over 40 cent of ele- mentary and high school chil- dren ride in them to school. !n a country that is poor in public transport the yellow bus is of- ten the only way for a child to reach school easily, especially in rural areas. The, Jlcel of. buses (ii'cw lo massive propor- tions as America moved away from the one-room local school and built large, impressively equipped institutions serving much wider catchment areas. Hul the word "busing" now has the lo aroubC pas- sionate debate because it is a shorthand way of referring lo the use of school buses lo achieve racial integration as ordered by federal courts. This process began in 1951, the Supreme Court of the United Slates declared thai the racially segregated "dual" school systems established by law in the Southern stales were unconstitutional. For years the South mado only token gestures towards de- segregation. Then, under pres- sure from the Johnson adminis- tration, rural schools were inte- grated, although Southern cities still resisted. In 19C9 the Su- preme Court declared that tho dual system should be ended "iiL and lower courts be- gan enforcing the order. One of the most radical de- segregation plans was imposed on the city of Charlotte in North Carolina, where the in- ner city schools were almost all black and the suburban schools all white. The federal court in I lie area ordered school attendance patterns changed so that all schools in the cily and the suburbs in the surrounding country would be- come racially mixed. The plan Involved tho extensive busing both into and oul of the cily. h i t c parents appealed against Ihc order, but Ihis was upheld by the Supreme Court tost year in a unanimous deci- sion. Chief Justice Warren Burger, while granting that there could be valid objections to busing it involved .such long journeys that children's health and education were ndccled, said: we find no basis for holding thai the local school au- thorities may not be required lo employ bus transportation as one tool of school desegrega- tion." The present wave of anti-bus- ing emotion, however, began in the North, not in the South. In Pontiac, Michigan, angry par- ents destroyed 10 school buses in protest against a court-order- ed integration plan. Since the end of the Second World there have great migrations. Black1; moved into the North in search of belter jobs and tended to concentrate in central oily ghettos. moved from Book Reviews the cities into the suburbs. There is now greater racial .se- gregation in the North than in the South, foul the Supremo Court lias not yt't ruled whether this de facto segregation is also unconstitutional. It has su fur dealt exclusively with the r'o jure segregation imposed by law in the Southern .sUilus. However, some federal courts have found lhat llic dis- tinction is far from clear cut, and that so-called de facto gregaLioii has been reinforced i[ not cjealed by local govern- ment decisions cboul where to build new schools and how to draw the boundaries of catch- ment areas. The courts have therefore bo- gun to order integration in Michigan, llli n o i s, Massachu- setts, California, Colorado, Vir- ginia nnd ;i imnj'jsr ol other stales. Local anti-busing groups have been in many of the country. Itccenlly, several hundred parents from Excellent naval story "The Flag Caplain" by Alexander Kent (Longman Canada Lid. S7.05, 352 rFHIS is what I would refer lo as a "man's" book. A novel of the sea, taking place in those years of the Napoleonic wars around 1790-1815. The dust jacket of the book compares the writer Kent with (lie writer of the Hornbloner series, popular books of more than a decade ago. Bui Fore- ster's Hornblower and Kent's Bolilho are nol rubber-stamp products of naval school hack- ground. Bolilho emerges as an introvertj concerned wilh the men he must work with, the problems and injustices of war anil the hopes and dreams of military men who want only to return home and live normal lives. Having not read the two ear- lier books in the series, I can't comment on whether the epi- sodes in Flag Captain are se- quential in Bol'.lho's career. In this one, Dolitbo is