Student Response and Resistance


Students await group photos for their yearbook outside of Hyde Park High School under police supervision in 1976

While some students accepted the adjustments to enrollment assignments and overall integration efforts, others fed into the atmosphere of resistance and defiance. Roughly a month into the school year, 175 white students staged a walkout from Charlestown High the morning of October 14, 1975. Two days later, an entire bus full of black students from Roxbury refused to get out to upon arrival to the same school and were eventually driven back home. Reports of student on student and student on faculty assaults escalated within the next few weeks. In one incident, a teacher at the Edison School in Brighton was instructing a 13-year-old female from Roxbury against disrupting the class when the student proceeded to grab the teacher by the hair, pull her to the ground, and punch and kick her in the stomach and back. Less violent incidences and forms of protest also occurred such as the passing out of pamphlets by Hyde Park students including the phrase, “Stop Phase 2 – Fight for Decent and Equal Education.” By the end of the first month of the school year, one report claimed that out of Brighton, Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, Hyde Park, Dorchester, South Boston, Roxbury, and East Boston, nearly 700 students had been suspended.[2] Related to busing or not, these suspensions attest to the unhealthy climate of the Boston area schools at the outset of Phase II.

citywide student demands.jpg

Students across Boston outlined demands for better communication, treatment, and education.

[1] Boston Public Schools, “Projected Enrollments and Daily Attendance-All Schools,” September 10, 1975, 1.

[2] Clergy Committee, “Suspension Figures (School Department),” October 28, 1975.

[3] “Citywide Boston Students’ Demands,” April 5, 1976.

Student Response and Resistance