Title: In the High Schools
Subtitle: “Hey! What’s that sound?”
Date: 1969
Notes: Fifth Estate #79, May 15–28, 1969

Free Speech Fight in Plymouth—Students around Detroit may have been misled by the so-called “news reports” on what recently went down in Plymouth. I cleared up the story after talking to Jim Kalliel, editor of Free Verse, an underground paper which the Plymouth officials tried to silence.

The fascists in Plymouth were beaten out of a victory when Jim faced the Court, the pigs, and the “powers that be” in the tradition of all those who have dared to print what they believe in the face of much opposition and a repressive ruling group.

He was arrested by a local narc under a 1929 ordinance that makes it illegal to sell papers on the street without a vending license costing five dollars a day or 100 dollars a year.

Jim was subsequently thrown into a cell after being red-baited and harassed by the cops. After 2-1/2 hours, he finally was allowed to make a phone call when he freaked out the pigs “by flushing the toilet, screaming, and hiding in the corner.” He got a lawyer for free and was ready for court.

When the fascists saw he was serious, they wanted to drop the charges, but Kalliel refused. About 150 students came down along with a number of parents, teachers, and clergymen to support him at his trial.

Just before court convened, adults hawked Free Verse and a number of dailies on the steps of the municipal building. Unsure of where the law stood, the cops did nothing.

After five minutes, the case was dismissed at the request of City Attorney Charles Lowe, who cited a constitutional question. Said Kalliel: “It’s about time the little man won. Cops have too much power, and people are just realizing this.”

Ferndale Struggle—School Board officials again postponed the discussion on the black student’s demands at Ferndale High School, and were answered by the students with a sit-in in the school basement.

The school threatened suspension and the local police threatened arrest for criminal trespass, but nothing happened, and the students left after the regular school day finished. They were joined by sympathetic white students in the basement, where black culture and history were discussed.

The School Board finally proposed a set of curriculum changes to include courses on black history and culture and the hiring of black staff.

Bailey Reid, a senior, called the changes token and superficial.

Also, Maurice Geary, of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and well-known anti-war and human rights activist, was dissatisfied.

He wanted the black culture course to be mandatory, instead of only elective. “You only have half an education if you don’t know black history,” he said.

It seems that many of the students are dissatisfied, and rightly so. No action has thus far been taken.

Peace and Freedom Party in North Farmington—The North Farmington Student Council elections were recently entered by the North Farmington High School Peace & Freedom Party, for the purpose of ending the disenfranchisement of the students there. Two students were entered in the race, Jack Mingo for president and Mark Kearns for vice-president.

In an announcement in The Conscientious Objector, the PFP stressed how the Student Council was not run in the interests of the student body.

Changes in the council are demanded in an amendment proposed, and include “an ‘open’ Student Council...This council would be opened to all concerned students, thus affording the best possible expression of student ideas, and providing an ever present avenue for their discussion.”

They promised never to stifle dissent “by branding someone ‘out of order’ to keep him from speaking, as was the case a disturbing number of times earlier this year.”

The PFP also proposed that an “Activities Council” be formed to take care of the dances, parties and other bullshit so that the council can deal with more important matters. News on the election in my next column.

Farmington Pigs Oink—The parents of one of the activists at North Farmington High School received a letter from the Principal concerning his activities with the underground paper, the Conscientious Objector. Enclosed was a copy of the Objector with certain “obscenities” circled.

The letter read in part, “The Detective Bureau of the Farmington Township Police Department had indicated that some of the information is in violation of township ordinances and that if repeated will receive the attention of the Township Detective Bureau.” Oink!

SDS At Lakeshore High School—SDS high school students at Lake Shore High in St. Clair Shores have been hassled lately by reactionaries and administrative thugs.

When first founded, the activists made it clear that they would be willing to discuss the detentions, dress codes, and regulations of the school. They then began to pass out literature, and called a meeting at the city’s Memorial Park, where a general meeting was planned for SDS ‘to be held on the Macomb County Community College campus.

This meeting was broken up by John Birchers and right-wing vandals, who struck students with umbrellas, destroyed personal property, and generally caused trouble and noise.

This action was followed up with the administration pulling the students in the office, and expelling one person.

SDS at Salesian—School officials freaked out at Salesian High School, an all-boy Catholic School, on Thursday, May 8 when SDS High School Guerrillas passed out the following leaflet:

What does Salesian H.S. want SDS for?

“J. Christ, historic hippie, revolutionary, commune-ist figure, who denounced the barbaric society in which he lived and was executed, saw that only man could better his society.

“The organized, reactionary Catholic church has distorted his principles through its repressive dictates for close to 17 centuries. Its ideology of white supremacy has been responsible for the most barbaric wars mankind has ever seen (until the 20th century), known, ironically, as the Crusades. It has aptly been called the opiate of the masses, for it has systematically retarded mankind’s urge for Freedom on Earth.

“Inside this white racist society the Black Liberation Struggle has been going on since the first Black man was kidnapped from Africa over 400 years ago. This colony is in revolt, and must win before you or I will ever be free.

“Why? Come see the Black Panther Film, and we’ll talk about it. We’re in SDS and don’t claim to be modern-day Christs, yet we do represent a force which denounces this barbaric, inhuman society. We’ll talk about why, if you wish. Hopefully we can help you begin to think about how you, as Salesian High School students can best attain your human rights, both in your school and life.

“The Movement does not exist yet in Detroit; it will soon, but not unless people know what it is. Come with as open a mind as possible.”

Students interested in High School SDS can write Box 9571, North End Station, Detroit, Mi. 48202.

King High Ripped Off—Students at Martin Luther King High School ripped off the administrative offices and shut down the school on Wednesday, May 30, over demands that have been ignored by the school since last November. Among the demands are a student union to negotiate with teachers and administrators, observance of the anniversary of Malcolm X’s death, and a community-controlled governing board to select school administrators.

Anchor Bay—We received a copy of New Baltimore’s only underground paper, The Student Voice.

Included in the paper were articles on the draft, Tom Sincavitch, and a reprinted memorandum on the paper from the principal, and the student’s answer.

The principal raged that it was in “poor taste” and that it “entered into so-called sensationalism areas...”

The students answered, “True, many did call our paper ‘sensational,’ but we wouldn’t go that far. We might say that it was ‘good’ or ‘well-written.’”

Interested students can write The Student Voice, 31664 Sikon Road, New Baltimore, MI 48047.

Cranbrook—Students at Cranbrook have put together a beautiful quarterly magazine, Tracks, that they say will “brighten up the underground and overground and help the cultural revolution get a foothold.”

They want artists, photographers, and poets to submit their work. Send to Tracks, 520 Lone Pine Rd., Bloomfield Hills, Mi.

You can pick up the latest issue at stores around Wayne, on Plum Street and in Birmingham.