To Fight The Good Fight The Battle — страница 10
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accounts, these massive meetings were viewed by the members as carefully orchestrated demonstrations. “Often meetings are characterized by hissing and booing, catcalls, etc., sometimes even during the prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance that open each meeting.” Board president, Henry Myers, adjourned the meetings to executive session because the disruptive “militants” were placing the “spectators in some jeopardy.”46 A “constitutional consultant” to the Board, Paul Leonard, saw the hiring of a sergeant-at-arms as necessary for this reason. From his perspective the board meetings had become “a farce–a field day for rabble-rousers–packed with liberals.”47By the beginning of the 1973-1974 school year the Vetterli, Myers and Newton board had begun to make good on all of its campaign promises, among them the promise to get out from under the court ordered desegregation. By December 1973 the board had filed a motion to modify the integration plan in the Los Angeles federal court. Essentially, they asked Judge Real to throw out forced busing in favor of voluntary busing and to be freed from all federal constraints placed upon them by the court.48However, because they had allowed five schools to remain in violation of the original court order and hired a number of white administrators early in their term, Judge Real found that the board had acted in contempt of the court order.49 According to the 1970 court- order the district had an obligation to not only integrate the student population of the schools but also the faculty and staff, which had been effectively segregated as well. By hiring the white administrators on a “temporary” basis the board thought that they would be able to get around that part of the court-order.Real also denied the board’s request that they be allowed to implement a “freedom of choice” plan to replace the current integration plan and he refused to relieve the school district of the federal order which was forcing them to insure that there be no “majority of any minority” in a Pasadena school. He found that:Modification of the injunction of this court of January 23, 1970, would, in effect, leave the Board to its own devices concerning the Pasadena Plan and its continued viability as a mandate for desegregation. To grant such relief would–in light of the avowed aims of four members of the five-member board–surely be to sign the death warrant of the Pasadena Plan and its objectives. 50Judge Real understood the motives of the fundamentalists on the board of education. He noted in his findings that the theory of the board that white parents, whose children left the school district because of forced busing, would return if busing was voluntary held no merit. He wrote, the idea that,’salesmanship’ will convince enough ‘white parents’ whose children have left [the school district] to return and choose the same ‘educational alternatives’ that black parents do in order to accomplish an integrated schools system. . . exposes the folly of the belief that one who left a school district because his children were forced to attend schools with Negro children would now voluntarily choose that alternative.51Judge Real knew that, given the political philosophy of the current board, he was the only thing standing between them and the resegregation of Pasadena schools.The school board was not so easily discouraged. They immediately took the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Attorneys hired by the school district argued that they should be relieved of the court-ordered “no majority of any minority” clause, that they should be allowed to implement a voluntary busing plan, and, finally, that they should be freed from court supervision. The appellate court supported Judge Real’s decision. Judges Ely and Wallace, in their opinion, noted, as Judge Real had, that because the majority of the board members had run for election on a platform that called for an end to forced busing and a return to neighborhood schools, the “district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to dissolve the earlier decree implementing a desegregation plan.”52 So, both the Circuit Court and the Appellate Court had refused to make any changes in the court supervised desegregation of the school system.Another part of the courtroom battle took place in 1975 over the board’s increasing efforts to fundamentalize the schools. The board voted, in a closed meeting, to add two new fundamental schools to the two already in existence. By September, Audubon Primary and McKinley Elementary schools would join Marshall and Sierra Mesa Fundamental Schools. The outcry against the action was fierce and instantaneous.