This post was written by Trish Lane, a College of Education graduate student in Dr. Stephanie Sebolt’s ED602 class.

While reading, School: The Story of American Public Education, at times I felt horrified.  I never realized that during desegregation, elementary age students participated as test subjects to begin the integration process.  I have heard how bullying, harassment, and violence threatened lives during this time, and I was appalled to learn that children, as young as five, were also sent into this war zone.  Nevertheless, one family at the center of this controversy greatly “understood that their children would endure physical and psychological punishment in the hostile racial climate of their new school” (Mondale & Patton, 2001, p. 125). “They felt changing schools was their best chance….” for a brighter future (Mondale & Patton, 2001, p. 125).

As a parent, would you be willing to send your grade school child to a war zone with the knowledge that he or she may not live to return home and that the harm done could cause life changing trauma and emotional devastation?  Just imagine the fear and responsibility placed on the shoulders of one so young. This is what happened in 1960 to Ruby Bridges (shown in the featured image) and several other children, who were chosen to be test subjects in a program to determine if desegregation was feasible (Rare Historical Photos, 2016).

As a mother of a child with disabilities, I could not imagine knowingly risking my child’s life to send her to school; however, without the bravery of these parents and children who paved the way, today many others would not have the educational freedoms for an appropriate public education.  How many of our students today would be willing to make such a sacrifice?


Mondale, S., & Patton, S. B. (2001). School: The story of american public education. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

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