A fight erupted yesterday between policemen and would-be spectators outside the courtroom where Federal District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr. was holding a hearing requested by lawyers from Harvard's Center for Law and Education to consider closing and relocating South Boston High School.
As the hearing started, the 12th-floor courtroom was packed with spectators, and another 150 people were waiting out in the hall, clamoring to be let in. When told that they would have to go home, some of them refused to leave and resisted the attempts of federal officers to move them toward the elevators.
Five persons, four of them women, were arrested.
Abuses in Southie
Meanwhile at the hearing, Eric E. Van Loon and Robert Pressman, lawyers from the Center for Law and Education, presented evidence to show that abuses directed at black students make it impossible to operate an integrated school successfully in South Boston, the center of anti-busing sentiment in the city.
"The problems result from the bravado a white student derives from being on what he considers white man's turf. The only solution is to move the school to a neutral location outside South Boston," Pressman said earlier this week.
Lawyers Aid NAACP
The two lawyers filed the motion for the relocation of South Boston High last Tuesday on behalf of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Van Loon and Pressman have been working with the NAACP in Boston desegregation cases for three years as part of a program at the Harvard Law Center.
Pressman refused to comment on the effect yesterday's disturbance would have on the outcome of the hearing. "A lawyer just can't make day-to-day judgments on how things are going," he said yesterday.
"I'm sure, though," he added, "that Judge Garrity will make his decision based only on what he hears about the school. That's the only thing that's important."