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Sunday September 24, 2017
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From Teacher to Terrorist

 

continued

Our students were a mix of academics' kids and children recruited from Ann Arbor's black neighborhoods, many of whom lived in poverty. They all adored her. She usually had one or two in her arms. She fed, smiled, cleaned, wiped tears and runny noses, comforted, and explained. We didn't believe in forcing children to act a certain way, so many of them behaved with the violence they lived with at home. But when Diana was there, the atmosphere was much gentler, and the children stopped fighting and learned.

For more than a year, Diana and Bill revived my faith in the future. Our mission was to give all the kids an equal education and to rescue some from the hopelessness of poverty. When they were wild or abusive, we accepted it as our due for our privileged upbringings. The more we slaved, the more we were saved. When Bill was jailed after a sit-in at the local draft board, we walked around the jail's urine-yellow cement walls and were thankful for such a doable penance. But after his release, there was no relief. We had abased ourselves, had suffered the righteous penalties of working for minute pay and living minimally. And still the war went on.

It was the war, not the school, that became Bill's focus. He was there less and less often. When he showed up for staff meetings, he filled them with his political diatribes.

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