San Jose School Busing Begins 15 Years After Integration Suit

Associated Press

Fifteen years after Jose Vasquez sued the San Jose School District to end segregation at his son’s school, his three grandchildren will join nearly 30,000 students today on the first day of court-ordered desegregation.

About 6,000 students ages 5 to 18 were expected to ride buses between the more affluent and white southern part of the district and the Mexican and Asian areas in the north. The district is 55% white, 31% Latino, 10% Asian, 2.5% black, plus American Indians and other groups.

“From the first day I went to school, I went to segregated schools,” Vasquez, 63, said 17 months after the Supreme Court let stand a ruling to end segregation. “My grandkids are third-generation Americans and they’re going to a school heavily imbalanced in favor of Hispanics.


“I don’t want anything for myself, personally, or just my kids,” said Vasquez, a Mexican-American who served in World War II and Korea. “I want desegregation. I have a very strong commitment to the cause of upward mobility for the Hispanic people. . . .”

Requirement Exceeded

Officials say about 75% of the students will attend ethnically balanced schools today, far exceeding the 60% required in the first year of the four-year, $16-million plan approved by U.S. District Judge Robert F. Peckham.

“There’s some confusion as with anything new, and some resentment from those people who haven’t gotten their first or second choices, but I haven’t seen any organized animosity,” said Beatriz Arias, a Stanford education professor named by Peckham to monitor the plan.

There has been no threat of violence or protests, she said.