Interview with Kathy Stapleton

How did you as a seventeen year old kid understand all this?


Well I, I don't think I really understood it at all. I think, ah, I, I think, you know, they wanted to, they said racially mix the school which, which I can understand. I could understand in one way but it wasn't as if, I looked at, my high school was a good high school but it was a run-down building with mediocre, I thought, mediocre equipment. It didn't have, it didn't have, we didn't have a pool or a gym. I could not, for one, would see why people would really want to come into this school. Because it was okay but it was not any better than any other high school in the city. Ah, you know, it was just kind of putting kids from one okay school to another okay school. I mean, it just did not, um, it just didn't make any sense. And from when I had gone to school, I had never heard, our neighborhood, yes it is, mostly a White community, but I had never, up until that point heard you know of anybody being turned out or not allowed because of their color, or race, religion, um, and then all of a sudden when the bussing came, you know and said "We're going to force you to do this because this school happens to be one color and this school was one color and we're going to mix everybody together." And I don't think anybody was particularly happy. I'm sure the kids coming in were nervous. The kids already there were nervous. It just was not, it was not a comfortable situation in the beginning. And, and we had no, ah, there was no time or effort put in to preparing us for this, for this turmoil. You know we were just, one day we all showed up for school. And the first day I was, I was, nobody could have prepared me for what, what I saw when I walked around the corner. It was mass confusion, it was pretty scary, it was upsetting, and, uhm, I was not prepared for that. And I didn't expect it. You know I don't, I don't blame, I don't blame any, I don't blame the people in the community. I don't blame any of the kids in the schools. And I don't blame the people outside. I don't think anybody was prepared.