Interview with Ruth Batson
QUESTION 8
JACKIE SHEARER:

Can you go back to that summer? How was the community feeling? I mean, you were based at the Freedom House in--

RUTH BATSON:

Yes. Well, you see, the, the--Actually, ah, the ah, um, decision came down in June, 1974. The order really didn't go into real effect until September of 1975. And at Freedom House it was decided that all of the agencies would meet there on a regular basis to discuss what was going to happen and discuss how we would work during that emergency. It was a wonderful group of people who gathered together under the direction of um, Muriel and Otto Snowden. And um, Ellen Jackson and I were chairpersons of this small group. And we would meet to get legal updates, finding out what was happening, where it was going. And there were all kinds of appeals coming in from the school systems so we needed to have that understanding. Well, in the meanwhile, I was um, director of a program called Consultation and Education at the um, ah, Division of Psychiatry, BU School of Me--of Me--of Medicine. And along with my co-worker we sat down to try to figure out what we would do about it because we knew that there would be mental health issues that would come up during this transition. And ah, so we went down to Washington, the National Institute of Mental Health, and asked them for money to train people to um, work with the students during this period. Um. We then set up a training program which went into effect in um, the summer of 1975, whereby we chose to develop teams of people who would work on buses, ride buses. Work at ah, various schools. And they couldn't get into all the schools but they'd work at the staging areas. And they'd receive the children afterwards. Meantime, the group at Freedom House, with all of the um, the institutions in that area, Multi-Service Center, Lena Park, Alma Louis School of Fine Arts. All of these schools and all of these agencies were stewed together ah, to--bringing in their resources to help these kids do this terrible time.