It’s been quite some time since the courts ordered the schools to bus children to schools away from their familiar neighborhood schools but, oh, I remember it well.
My son, who was seven at the time, was to be bussed and I felt like he was being sent out of state just to attend public school.
My mother was living with me at the time, and since the school bus stopped right in front of the house, I knew he would be safe for she would be there in the afteroons when he alighted from the bus.
It worked the first year, even though my son was the one minority in his class. He made good grades and had no trouble at school but, his neighborhood friends were free to walk to the neighborhood schools. This meant that the school districts had been rezoned just for bussing and we were just a street away from not having to be bussed.
Then, guess what? The next year of school, a student would have to furnish his own transportation to the very same school that my son had been bussed the previous year. A child had to live outside a mile radius of the school for the school bus to pick him up.
I bristled. My mother had moved out and there would be no one home when the bus brought him, cince I had to work.
I did everything possible to do the right thing. I contacted the State Superintendant and he gave my case to a man who tried everything in his power, even ethnic (our name is slovic), to help us. No go. He would have to go to the school of their choice and I would have to manage his transportation. How could I do this? I did not know any of the parents in that school and even so, they lived so far away, they could not accommodate me.
I gave my sister’s address. I was buying my home (the children’s dad had walked out a couple of years earlier) and didn’t want to give it up.
So, my son and daughter were registered at a school of their choice, No one knew the difference.
I would take them in the mornings before work and use my lunch hour to go and get them and put them in the child care. Then I would pick them up again when I got off work.
Oh, yes, this was hard. I worked all the way downtown, but it had to be done. God bless my boss. He was so helpful to me at that time. If I happened to be a few minutes late, he overlooked it or pretended to.
At the end of the school year, I had a call from the principal at the school telling me that it would be better if my children didn’t register at that school for the following year. I told him that they would be back. He informed me that they were under court order and I informed him, again, that my children were going to attend that school because they liked it. He hung up.
That summer, I sold the house and moved practically to the back yard of the school where both of my children finished.
I say “lie if you have to.”