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changing the requirement for election from plurality to majority. Grover thereafter became director of a Houston Independent School District study program, receiving an annual salary increase of $5,000. Board liberals questioned the legality o f Grover’s simultaneously receiving state and school district salaries, but school board attorney Joe Reynolds assured them that it was OK, basing his opinion on a 1949 court decision. However, a “good Texas friend” outside the district notified one of the liberal members by mail of a more recent decision in which dual salaries were held a violation of state law. Mr. Grover subsequently resigned from his legislative post, which paid the smaller salary. He later resigned from the school district and was elected to the State Senate, in which he now serves as its only Republican. THE SCHOOL board’s conservative majority has appeared to proceed on the assumption that school board business is best handled with a minimum of public exposure. Meetings have not been televised for about a year and a half, and are now held mornings instead of evenings, perhaps to discourage attendance. More than one reliable witness to the untelevised meetings has reported acute embarrassment at the lack of civility accorded liberals Mrs. White and Asberry Butler, both Negroes. Certain administrators and board members appear to find unaccountably hilarious the traces of regional and ethnic acents belonging to Butler and Mrs. White. Mrs. White begins a motion, it is said, and one of the administrators at the table smirks, nudging someone else. One of the spectators overhears another administrator: “How do you spell ‘propo’tionately’?” Reportedly, they take special delight in needling Asberry Butler. “He varies,” a frequent witness says. “Sometimes he’s away off base, sometimes he can be bril: liant, going straight to the heart of a problem. But when he has difficulty in articulating a motionas who wouldn’t occassionallythey tear him to shreds.” They pretend great difficulty in understanding him. “What’s that you’re trying to say, Mr. Butler?” “It doesn’t matter that the motion may be a sensible one, relating to a universal problem and having nothing to do with politics,” the witness goes on. “They turn him every way but loose, and then of course they defeat the motion automatically.” Mrs. Barnstone, the seven-member board’s third liberal, and the attractive wife of a well-known Houston architect, presents a formidable combination of intelligence, poise, and very-nearly flawless diction; meeting-table gibes in her direction tend to more sublety. She once noticed that about one-third of the books to be awarded to students as prizes sponsored by a rightist-type women’s organization were on a John Birch Society reading list. Mock horror was the response to her motion that school librarians be allowed to select the prize books, instead. “Mrs. Barnstone,” rebuked a straight-faced conservative board member, “you sound like a book burner!” Commenting on the current propaganda campaign, Mrs. Barnstone tells of a teacher who telephoned her to say he was disturbed, not by the rumors, but by the futility of his efforts to persuade several School Board Head, Denies Any Coercion Houston Houston school board president J. W. McCullough, Jr., has denied that teachers have participated in the current election campaign during school hours. “It’s time for the public to get the facts straight about the board’s attitude on coercion of teachers and the participation of administrators and principals in a trustee election,” he said. McCullough ordered that copies of the local policy on political activity by district employees be posted at each school. The policy coincides with a 1961 act of the legislature. “In essence,” McCullough explains, “this legislation says trustees, administrators and principals shall not, directly or indirectly coerce any teacher to refrain from participating in politics. It also forbids trustees, administrators, and principals to directly or indirectly require or coerce any teacher to join any group, club, committee, organization or association. “The legislature, in passing the 1961 act, gave teachers back their citizenship by freeing them to participate in or refrain from political activity. We consider the employees of the Houston School District . . . to be among the most responsible members of this community,” McCullough says. Asked by a Houston reporter about rumors of teachers coerced during the current campaign, McCullough replied, “I know of no coercion. I have no definite proof.” of his faculty friends to look objectively for more facts before submitting to panic. “The frightening thing,” Mrs. Barnstone says slowly, “is how apparently enlightened people are so totally swept along by fear and by the emotional appeal of these rumors, without questioning, without investigating. Isn’t this the sort of non-think hysterical reaction which makes tyranny possible?” NEVITABLY, A huffy rebuttal has been framed to liberal protests against pressuring of teachers by administrators and principals. Are they trying to muzzle teacher participation in public affairs? Unruffled, Mrs. White patiently assures an inquirer who has telephoned her home that she definitely believes teachers should be able to participate in politics; carefully, she emphasizes the words “coerce” and “induce,” adding an explana 7 tion of objections to campaign solicitation in school buildings, on school time. Terminating the conversation, she steps into the hallway, ushers a small dog out the front door, crosses the living room, and opens shutters on French doors leading to a sunporch. Morning sunshine streams in. On the mantle are portraits of two teenagers in graduation robes; on a corner table is another portrait of a boy in military uniform. Mrs. White is the mother of five, but they are all away. The house is unbelievably quiet, an island of calm strangely undisturbed by intermittent ringing of two telephones, one in the dining room and one in the kitchen. Mrs. White is calm, too, as she crosses and recrosses the hall to answer each in turn. One of the phones, she says, is a temporary connection with her campaign headquarters, which is opening that day on Main Street. For a while her husband is at home to help her answer the calls, but he must leave. Mrs. White handles all the calls herself. They are unusually numerous because a story announcing that she will seek re-election appears in that morning’s Houston Post; also the Post’s lead editorial that day condemns as unfair the campaign against her. Mrs. White is especially pleased about the editorial. Calls come from friends, from campaign workers, from television reporters; she responds to each with genuine_ warmth and unfailing courtesy. Between calls, she sits briefly on the sofa, man-. ages a few stitches in a piece of embroidery, and, without visible agitation, discusses the whisper campaign. She says she was first alerted to its proportions a couple of weeks ago by a newspaper reporter who called to ask about it. She had previously thought that “nobody could believe such wild allegations.” A day or so later, teachers began calling and dropping by her home, telling her that they had been asked to contribute to a campaign in behalf of her opposition, and that although their sympathies were with her, they felt they were helpless, fearing various reprisals. Mrs. White doesn’t raise her voice, but her indignation shows briefly when the conversation turns to the charges that she will, if re-elected, be responsible for mass bussing. It is most ironic, she says, that the opposition should use “neighborhood schools” as their rallying cry. Obviously, she asserts, the majority weren’t considering “neighborhood schools” when they were bussing Negro children eleven miles from the Piney Point area to Lockett Junior High, passing two other junior highs en route; or when they bussed senior high students 25 miles from Piney Point to Worthing, when most of them lived about 11/2 miles from Lee. But it is the building program energeti October 27, 1967 5