School of Education
765 Commonwealth Avenue
Office of the Dean
24 March 1976
Dear Mr. Largess:
Judge Garrity has shared with me your letter to him, dated March 18, 1976.
Several points you make deserve clarification, I believe. First, it is your employer, the Boston School Committee, who makes the policies you refer to which direct your daily action in taking a "racial census." The U.S. District Court has not directed teachers to undertake this activity. Rather, it has required that regular and accurate enrollment and attendance statistic be provided it which will enable it to gauge whether, when, and where its student desegregation orders, published in full on June 5, 1975, are being met. Since the U.S. Supreme Court has defined the constitutional standard involved as one of eliminating the existence of "racially identifiable public schools" within districts where such schools have been found to exist as a result of the deliberate actions of school boards and their agents, the classifications entailed in the periodic census are self-explanatory. Such a finding of liability was made about Boston public schools in June, 1974, as you know.
Secondly, as an educator who conducts instruction daily, you may well be able to imagine alternative ways of fulfilling this obligation. Your ideas should be shared with your principal, district superintendent, and the director of the Office of Implementation, Mr. Robert Donahue.
In regard to your reasons for objecting to the practice in which you engage, may I note that it is not the court which introduced into the schools the "practice," as you say, "of applying 'racial' distinctions." It was the Boston School Committee and its designated agents. That is the essence of the finding of liability in Hennigan v. Kerrigan. I share your hope that this practice will have been corrected in the very near future.