by Jeanne Belovitch
1981), the School Department announced layoffs.
The impact of these changes contributed to high absenteeism among teachers and students; aggressive student behavior; apathetic teachers; animosity between blacks and whites; and in general, a threatening environment for everyone in the school.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines school as an “institution for the instruction of children.” The building at 18 Croftland avenue does not demonstrate this definition. How many of the other public buildings in Boston, set aside for teaching can rightfully be called “schools?”
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“Everybody in our cluster signed the petition,” explained Valery, an eighth grader. “We didn't want him to be layed off. He's a good teacher. I called District Five. Sharen wrote a letter to the School Committee,” she continued. “After we all signed the petition, we gave it to Mr. Cunningham. But, he said nothing could be done. So we all called the District and sent letters to the School Committee for laying off all the good teachers. We fought like cats and dogs,” she recounted with pride, “to get Mr. S. back.”
Many of the 75 children in this cluster, who as Valery explained “fought like cats and dogs” to let their feelings be known, are among the same who swear, steal, smoke dope, and carry dangerous weapons.
If the threat of losing good teachers at their school can rally them to these heights, let's not abandon Boston's inner city children, now.
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