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Board Debates Negro Pupils' Demands

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Critical commenfs flew fast and furiously last night at the [Board of Education meeting as Supt. W. Scott Westerman Jr. recommended actions to be takjen on the 21 demands to "correct racial inequities" at Ann Arbor High School presented by the Negro students May 27. School Trustees William C. Godfrey and Paul H. Johnson leveled most of the criticism at the Negro demands. Godfrey labeled four of the demands "patently illegal." It appears that 14 of the 21 demands, modified by a joint committee of Negro students and high-school faculty and remodified by the faculty as a whole and the superintendent, will be implemented. Seven demands not discussed by the AAHS faculty "due tó lack of time" will be referred to Bi - Racial Citizens' Advisory Boards, one to function at Pioneer High and another at Huron High. The high-school faculty considered and modified 14 of the demands during a 10-hour marathon session May 31. I Ronald Edmonds, a sociall studies teacher at the highl school who chaired the faculty-l black student committee, wasl present last night to explain andl clarify issues. Most of the demands will bel handled administratively. Thel Board of Education did not for-l mally vote on Westerman's recommendations. Actions on 14 of the demands recommended by Westerman are as follows: 1) Discipline policies and practices in the school will be reexamined and modified where necessary and the prohibition of differential treatment of any student is reaffirmed. Westerman said that such a study has been uhdertaken and will be presented soon to the school board. 2) The practice of marking down students' grades because of unexcused absence will be eliminated. Appropriate 1 linary actions will be developed and ready for implementation by September. I he Negro students had asked that lowered grades be elimin-1 ated for a number of offenses, ; iacluding smoking and truancy. ; Apparently the penalty still holds for smoking. Westerman explained there had been "much dissatisfaction" among the faculty for years regarding the practice of lo wering grades for unexcused absences. Edmonds called it "doublé jeopardy," since the students are already penalized by missing class work. The superintendent said the high-school administrative and giudance staffs would be charged with developing alternative disciplinary measures, measures which hopefully will be "more effective" than lowering grades. Trustee Johnson said scrapping of the policy of grade-lowering is "condoning truancy," though Trustee Harold J. Lockett applauded the faculty for requesting "imaginative" disciplinary measures rather than "punitive" ones. 3) The role of the pólice officer shall be limited to pólice business. When students are to be interrogated by the pólice officer, their parents or legal guard- ian should be present and theyj should have legal counsel if they or their parents so desire. SchoolJ discipline shall be maintained byj specific school personnel. j The Negro students demanded that pólice officers in the building be prohibited. A policemancounselor was assigned to AAHS in September of 1965. Godfrey remarked it is "significant" that, despite pressures, the faculty feel a policeman is needed at the school. Johnson praised the behavior of the Ann Arbor pólice stationed at the high school the week of June 3 to keep law and order. "The kids found out this cop brutality myth is pretty phoney," Johnson declared. i 4) Compensatory academie, psychological and social services will be increased for all educationally disadvantaged students. ; Westerman said a study committee to define "compensatory" and "educationally disadvantaged students" will be comIposed of members of the pupil Ipersonnel services staff. 5) A better quality of educa7 ' ion will be provided for Negro i tudents. The improvements will 1 ipply to all educationally ' idvantaged students. 6) ín addition to honors for i the College and University 1 paratory curriculum for outstanding students, awards shouldi also be given to those in otherj curriculums, such as industrial arts, stenographic, etc. ... 7) A Dr. Martin Luther Kingl award will be established, bel ginning this June, in recognitionl of individual students or organi-l zations which have made out-l standing contributions in the! field of human rights. Thel award should be on the samej level as the academie awards I given to graduating s e n i o r s I yearly. Machine for furtherj elections will be created. Westerman said the award will be presented tonight at graduation ceremonies to, Edward Weleh Jr. and Ophelia Brown. He also said that the award in the future will not be limited to black students only (as the Negro students ed) but will be open to all highschool students. This item drew strong comments from Godfrey and Johnson. Rèferring to the original demand that the award be given only to Negroes, Godfrey declared: "I resent very much the implication that members of one racial group are more qualified to contribute to the field of human rights than another racial group." He also objected to the name of the award: "Martin Luther King is still a controversial figure. . . . We have already named an elementary school after him, and I would feel much better if it were named after someone else," Godfrey said. He suggested a president of the United States or perhaps the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who "certainly I did contribute much to the field lof human rights." Johnson added his comments, I saying the 21 demands were not las long-standing and festering is "we had been led to be-, ieve„' that the award would 'inject racism," and that ït is 'unusual" to suggest a "segregated award in a totally integrated school." "This all goes to prove that any deed can be committed if committed under the guise of an ideal," Johnson said. Trustee H a r o 1 d J. Lockett said he agreed the award should not be open only to Negro students, so that aü students can "strive for high performances in the field of human rights." 8) Two bi-racial a d v i s o r yl boards will be created to workl on all race relations problemsl of the school, one to function atl lüuron High and one at Pioneer.! It will be composed of Negrol stuöents, other students, school personnel, parents and com-l Imunity residents. 9) A well defined proceaurei ivill be established to handlel student problems - a demandl termed the "crux" and "kernel" of all the recent racial unrest at the high school by Johnson. 10) The school newspaper shall be used to report progress in race relations and related problems. 11) A communication wm oei sent to parents or guardians byl the administration prior to 1 ing major decisions which primarily affect black students as a group in the Ann Arbor High School. Communication between the school and total communityU will be improved at all levéis. 12) -An intensive human relations in-service training, program for teachers and administrators will be established. Black [civil rights leaders will be in- Icluded. I Westerman said the training ■will include teachers in the