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Memories of busing

March 18, 2009

Re "Bused in," Opinion, March 13

Erin Aubry Kaplan's Op-Ed article brought back memories of when my husband and I lived in Westchester and helped start a busing project.

At that time, the airport was expanding and taking over residential areas, so we had schools with nearly empty classrooms. But just to the east of Westchester, many schoolchildren were on double sessions. Most of them were African American, and their parents felt they would get a better education in all-day schools.

The schools in Westchester were all-white. A group of parents from Westchester joined a group of parents from the double-session schools and funded a busing project for a year until the Board of Education took over.

I am saddened by Kaplan's account of her treatment by schoolmates in Westchester. It was the beginning of an effort to combat racism and to offer a better education to children who were on double sessions. I wish the results had been more positive. Although restrictive covenants are no longer enforced in Westchester, the results of discrimination are still alive and well.

Jean Holt Koch

Los Angeles

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I too was bused from South-Central to a predominantly white school, starting in my last years of elementary school.

When I and my fellow students first arrived at Topanga Elementary School, there was a large group of white adults holding signs and yelling. I was young and thought they were happy to see us. Much later on, I realized that these people did not want us going to school with their children.

The first year was a learning experience, but once we all -- black and white students -- realized that there wasn't much to the stereotypes we saw on TV or heard from our parents, we got along pretty well.

At Nobel Middle School, I became friends with white kids as well as black kids. We had dances together, pep rallies, you name it -- without all the baggage. High school was the same: no real incidents of racial problems.

Kenya Glover

Moreno Valley

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