Interview with Jane Duwors

Remember the day that Michael Faith got stabbed? And I'd like you to trace your steps from being inside the school to then being outside the school with parents waiting, to Louise Day Hicks trying to send everyone away to when the police moved in.


I was on corridor duty at South Boston High School the day Michael Faith got stabbed. And, ah, I was standing at the bottom of the first floor stairwell. And I was talking with another aide who was also stationed there at the--They all started to change classes, and students started filing and students started, you know, coming down the stairwell. All of a sudden I heard a girl screaming. Just, sc- I mean really screaming like something terrible had happened. And she came running down the stairs and she was screaming, "Michael Faith got stabbed, Michael Faith got stabbed. He's all blood laying outside the trophy case outside the office upstairs." And by then it was just pandemonium. You, you couldn't have kept order if you wanted. Students were running down the stairs screaming. Students were trying to fight their way there up, up the stairs to see what actually had happened I guess. The teachers and the aides were trying to calm, calm the students down. I remember I had the girl that was screaming so terribly and I was saying, "Everything will be all right. He'll, he'll be all right. They'll get him to a hospital. He'll be all right." And she just kept screaming hysterically. It's a terrible thing to see and it's a terrible thing still, fifteen years later, to remember. We tried the best we could. We brought the girl into the nurse's office which just happened to be right there at the stairwell. And the nurse was trying to calm her down. She was laying on the, on the, on the, ah, little chaise lounge they had there. And, um, the nurse was talking to her, screaming, kept growing louder and louder. Outside, and back out into the hallway and try to comfort more girls and next thing you know they were, students, the White students were saying they were going to the auditorium. They wanted to see Doc Reid. They wanted him to tell them what had happened and what was going to be done. And they were trying to get into the auditorium and, ah, the next thing you know Doc Reid was, I don't know if it was Doc Reid, personally, but the word was to get the White students out of the school. The White students were screaming, "This is our school. We have every right to be here. We're not leaving until we find out what's going on." And, um, by this time, it doesn't take very long for bad news to travel fast as you well know. And I think parents had started coming to the school to find out what had happened, um, from the crowd. They finally got the White students. They pushed them out of the school bodily. And, ah, they had the Black students in their rooms, in their homerooms. And they served the Black students lunch. And the White students were outside. The police were all out there and the parents were out there. And the parents still didn't know who was stabbed. The first parents had started coming, the police would give them no information. And the police wouldn't let them into the school to, I guess they wanted to be reassured that their child was all right. And, ah, a pretty ugly scene. It seemed as if they had no consideration or feelings for the, for the students who were so upset, so frightened. The look of fright on the, on the faces of the girls that were coming out of that school was an awful sight to see. Boston Police, the BPF stood inside and joked. The State Police who weren't there that day because of a riot or disturbance at Walpole, had to be called in on an emergency situation and they were the most professional. They just lined the job. They talked, you know politely and calmly to the parents outside. The parents kept waiting. They kept saying, "We want Doc Reid, we want him to come out here, we want him to tell us what's going on. We want to know if Michael Faith is all right. Is he alive? Is he dead? We want to know what's going to happen tomorrow. Is the school going to be open?" And none of these answers were forthcoming. And the parents were so frustrated and the students were so angry that this could have happened within yards of policemen lining the school because there were policemen inside the school, it wasn't just policemen outside the school. There were policemen inside the school everyday also. And they wanted to know how something like this could happen in a school where nothing like that had ever happened before. Their main concern was the safety of their children and the second concern was to find out if Michael Faith was all right. And the third concern was, you know. "What is going to happen tomorrow?" These questions were never addressed by Doc Reid or anybody at the school that day. Ray Flynn came and Louise Day Hicks came and they stood up and they tried to get the crowd to go home. And I think it was one of the few times that the crowd didn't listen to these two people who they thought of as their leaders, the ones that were trying to guide them through these days at, more importantly seemed to be the ones that were trying to help them get legislation, get lawyers, to take the case to court to see if it would be reheard and things like that. It was, "No, we don't want to listen to you anymore." I had left the school and gone outside. I didn't see any sense remaining in the school while the children were outside the school. And, ah, I was standing across the street from the school, ah, listening to Louise Day Hicks and Ray Flynn telling people to go home and people saying "No we're not going 'til we find out what's going to happen." And then the police moved in, they came around Thomas Park from G-Street side on horses and they trampled into the crowd. They knocked people down with their horses they knocked over baby carriages with babies in them, they, ah, used their night sticks quite freely. A lot of people got bloodied up, but they refused to move, I think we stayed there for five or six hours. Before it finally broke up, we heard that Michael Faith was going to be all right, and we also realized that there was not going to be any news forthcoming on what was going to happen to the school, whether the children, whether the school was going to be open the next day. It's a day that the scars are so deep in your heart if you were there, specially if you had children there you could see the children, thought, and rightfully so that this was their school and that the administrators of it the school department in this case had no feelings whatsoever for what they had gone through. I mean somebody gets murdered or commits suicide nowadays they have all these trauma teams race in to schools to give the children counseling and here were children--