Busing at Michael Brown’s Highschool

For the class “Education in the Socio-Cultural context” we spent some time learning about modern segregation in American schools. One source we looked at was the 562nd episode of “This American Life” which looked into the Normandy school district in Ferguson Missouri. As the events around Michael Brown’s murder and the later protests took place, the Normandy school district lost its state accreditation. Normandy had not been up to state standards in decades and had been on probation for 15 years. Upon losing accreditation a relatively unknown law was triggered where the school had to provide the option for students to commute to another school district, with Normandy paying the cost. The school chosen to take the students who decided to transfer was Francis Howell, a wealthy mostly white school more than an hours drive away from Normandy. The Hope was that very few students would choose to transfer but instead 1000 students opted in to the program. Overall it was both interesting and disheartening to see the same patterns desegregation, resistance and resegregation occur in the 2010s as opposed to the 1960s or 1970s. Just like with earlier generations of busing, the parents of Francis Howell were strongly opposed to the students, showed racial stereotypes, and used dogwhistles. The main difference was that the Francis Howell parents claimed to not be racist. I would highly suggest listening to the episode for the full context, as well as informative interviews with some of the participant in the case of accidental desegregation.

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