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3 Blacks Readmitted In Uproar

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In one of the most uproarious sessions in the history of the Ann Arbor Board of Education, the trustees last night gave in to the pleadings and pressure of some 50 black students and 25 black parents in the audience and voted to readmit three black youths who had been under extended suspension for involvement in vandalism at Pioneer High School on Sept. 30.
They were reinstated pending the outcome of disciplinary hearings or court action. Two of the three students, who have been charged either with malicious destruction of property or creating a disturbance during the Pioneer incident, showed up for classes this morning.
The third, LaMark Curry, 17, did not. He has been in the County Jail since Oct. 14 on two counts of breaking and entering. Examination on the charges has been set for Oct. 28, and bond of $1,000 each on each count has not been posted, so he remains in jail.
The action last night was a reversal of a vote taken 20 minutes earlier, and came after a wild 60 minutes of shouting and table-pounding that teetered on the brink of trouble. The meeting was held at the Ann Arbor Public Library.
Four other proposals of black Trustee Henry Johnson also were approved by the board, including official recognition of the Black Student Union at Pioneer High and the hiring of an outside agency to assess the "degree and extent of overt racism" in the public schools.
After the first vote on Johnson's motion to readmit the black youths failed on a 5-3 vote (voting in favor of readmittance were Johnson, School Board President Harold J. Lockett and Vice President Charles H. Good), black students streamed toward the exit, shouting that "if you don't have school tomorrow, you've got nobody to blame but yourselves."
One girl yelled: "You're doing just what the cowboys did to the Indians - shoot first and ask questions later. We won't stand for it." Calis of "right on!" and "you tell them" reverberated.
After additional angry shouting and arguments by black parents and returning students that the three youths were being placed in doublé jeopardy and were being found guilty by the board and punished by the suspensions before they were even brought to trial, a second vote was taken.
Black parents and students gradually moved from their seats until they stood five deep in front of the board table as the trustees voted. Most of the audience in fact, was standing and tension filled the room. Trustee Cecil W. Warner was the only board member who refused to vote for readmission the second time around. Trustees who switched their vote the second time were Paul Carrington, Ronald Bishop, Lt Robert Conn and Ted Heusel. According to the discipline policy, the three students could not be re-enrolled until a formal board hearing was held or until the results of the board investigation were available. After the reversal vote was taken, a. white man in the audience angrily told the trustees they were "gutless" and had been "intimidated." Trustee Warner agreed and said simply: "We gave in." But School Supt. W. Scott Westerman Jr. and other board members said they were impressed by the show of the black parents' commitment to their children, and they said they changed their minds because of that "show of unity." "I am impressed that this commitment of the black parents is a powerful forcé and a good sign for the school district," Westerman said. One black mother, Mrs. James Baker, had pleaded with the board to change its vote and readmit the youths: "I don't think you gentlemen understand what's happening," she cried. "I am scared and frightened, and I don't mind admitting it." Harry Mial, the black principal from Northside Elementary School, also urged the board to "compromise." He warned that "these kids are getting ready to get themselves together." The black students argued that the youths who had been suspended for three weeks were "missing an education. How are they going to make up their work? You back a cat into a corner and he'll fight back." One of the suspended students also spoke for himself : "What are you going to do if I'm found innocent in court - say you're sorry? How can I make up my work?" (Suspended students have no make-up privileges during the period of suspension - a much criticized item in the discipline policy. ) Trustee Johnson argued that if an adult is allowed to post bond and remain free until trial "then surely a student is entitled to as much, as his job is that of attending school, until such time as he is adjudicated via the discipline policy or in a court of law." Johnson also said the reinstatements would not be a "cop-out"% but "progress." He added, "This is one just act the board can engage in tonight." The fireworks began after the board accepted the first four recommendations of Trustee Johnson but refused to suspend deliberations about suspensions or. expulsions until a thorough investigation of the vandalism incident was made and also refused to reinstate the three youths until their guilt or innocence was established. School Board President Harold J. Lockett attempted repeatedly to continue with the agenda, but the audience wouldn't allow it. "This agenda is nothing but a piece of paper," one father yelled. Another student shöuted into the microphone that "this is our agenda and we're running it. You are forcing us to take this meeting over because you won't give us justice." Black students blamed the school board for the Sept. 30 incidents and any other violence that might occur and said it was caused by the school system's "racism" and a refusal to give the black pupils justice. Told the three students weren't readmitted because their parents hadn't requested a hearing with the board, one black father explained that the black parents "don't believe in your justice. Why should they ask you for a hearing?" A motion by Trustee Paul Carrington, to readmit the three youths to a special program outside oí school angered many of the students. "We don't want your hand-outs. We want justice," one teen-agèr yelled as he pounded the table several times in front of Carrington's nose. Prior to the readmission issue, the following four actions related to the Pioneer High incident were unanimously approved by the board: -The Black Student Union at Pioneer was recognized and officially endorsed. The BSU is open to all students, and is thus legal and not a "secret society" under the state school code. Presumably, the same endorsement will be given to a BSU at Huron High if membership is opened to all students. - A board committee was appointed to iron out details of hiring an outside agency to assess the degree and extent of overt racism in the Ann Arbor School District "with subsequent recommendations for action leading to change." - Support was given to previous administrative efforts to get student representation on the school board. A report on the progress of this action will be made within a month. -The administration was directed to continue its overhauling of the K-12 curriculum "with the specific aim of developing courses of study . . . which recognize all minority groups as contributors to the development of this country in their proper perspective."