Interview with Ruth Batson

Could you say something about putting Southie in receivership


OK, sorry, I believe that putting South Boston High School into receivership was the turning point in this whole case. Um, I had long felt that this was an important step to take. And after my first trip to South Boston High School in October I came back to our group at Freedom House and I said, "I want us to write a letter to the judge saying to the judge that we have to put South Boston High School into receivership." And they said, "Ah, Ruth. He'll never do that. It's just a waste of time. He'll never do it." And I really pushed my argument. And, and they said, "No, ah, we'll just aggravate the situation. They'll never do that." Well, um, always being the kind of person that would follow through on what I felt I said, "Well, I'm going to write the judge on my own." So I wrote the judge a letter in October saying to him that I had been out to South Boston High School and one of the things that I believed was that this thing would never be solved in, at the rate it was going because the people in South Boston felt that this was their school, that they owned this building. Somehow they had paid money for it. It was their school. And as long as this was the situation of turf, that this was never going to be solved. And I pointed out to him the kinds of things that I had seen happen in the school. And ah, so I said to him, "Judge Garrity, I really believe that this school will have to be put into receivership. Take it out of the hands of the people of South Boston, have an outside group look at it and handle it until we get over this crunch." Well, lo and behold, it, it was really a big day for me when the judge came out with the ruling that South Boston was going into receivership. Now, I'm not by any stretch of the imagination saying that he was influenced at all by a letter that I would have sent, but it thrilled me to have this happen because ah, for once I said, somebody is looking at this situation realistically. And of course, my co-workers and co-community activists were very impressed, you know, that I had this, this idea and um, somehow they linked it up. But I, I'm not sure that--But the point wa--