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This letter accompanied a booklet for black students and their parents, teaching them how to deal with conflicts during the Boston busing crisis. Freedom House, which published the booklet, was a long-established community center in the Washington Park area of Boston's Roxbury neighborhood. It monitored the implementation of court orders and staffed a hotline and rumor control center in order to reduce violence around busing.
How well you use the law to help yourselves depends upon how well you know the rules and regulations. This booklet tries to explain to the brothers and sisters trying to get a decent education in Boston what their rights are and how to handle themselves if trouble breaks out in your school.
Last year, a whole lot of Black students got mixed up with the police and the courts because they just did not know what to do and what NOT to do. Many more Black students than White ones were suspended from schools for "misbehavior," "insolence," "disruptive school behavior" and so on.
If Black brothers and sisters are to receive justice in school suspensions and in the Courts, they must know...
...what their rights are
...how to exercise them
...what the law is
This year, you will also be seeing many more police around the city. There will be more F.B.I. agents, more state and local uniformed police, and more investigators from the State Attorney General's office whose job is to move fast against anybody who breaks the law. So, you see, if you should be arrested or seen committing an unlawful act, you could be charged with a federal crime by the F.B.I. or with a state crime, or both. You will need to know HOW to report an incident.
You will need to try NOT to get involved in each and every incident that occurs.
BE SMART. REMEMBER OUR REAL FIGHT IS FOR THE RIGHT TO GO TO SCHOOL ANYWHERE IN THIS CITY AND TO GET THE BEST EDUCATION THERE IS. FIGHTING WHITES AND EACH OTHER IS NOT WHERE IT'S AT.
Reggie Cagle, Director
Freedom House, Inc.
Source: Freedom House Institute on Schools and Education, What's Going On? : A Guide Booklet Prepared Especially for Students and Their Parents to Help Them with School Problems and the Law (1975). From "The Freedom House: A Legacy Preserved," the online edition of a Northeastern University Libraries exhibition. Boston: Northeastern University Libraries, 2003. http://www.lib.neu.edu/archives/freedom_house