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School Committee Meets; Frisoli Ouster Is Likely

By Daniel Swanson

The Cambridge School Committee held a bizarre five-hour meeting last night that was attended by about 2000 people and periodically interupted by two brief fistfights, a bomb scare and almost continual chanting and clapping.

At press time the Committee had not yet voted on whether to renew the contract of Frank J. Frisoli '35, superintendent of Cambridge Schools, but earlier votes on procedural issues indicated that Frisoli would probably be ousted in a 4-3 vote.

Considered probable votes against Frisoli were Peter G. Gesell, Charles M. Pierce, David A. Wylie and Mayor Barbara Ackermann.

The meeting, held at Rindge Tech Auditorium, was attended over-whelmingly by Frisoli backers who alternately applauded or booed their supporters and opponents on the auditorium stage. A vociferous contingent of anti-Frisoli people provided enough of a balance so that Ackermann, who chaired the meeting, repeatedly had to call for order.


Frisoli alternated between sitting calmly on the stage and waving at his supporters and conferring with them off stage. At one point, however, he became incensed at an anti-Frisoli speech and raced to the front of the stage, calling the departing speaker--a representative of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce--"the biggest weasel that ever hit this town." An unidentified man from the audience then began striking the Chamber of Commerce representative, but the fight was quickly halted by Cambridge police. No arrests were made.

The meeting opened with the presentation of a resolution by Committee member Wylie, calling for the termination of Frisoli's contract. The reading of the resolution--which contained a list of 29 charges--was repeatedly drowned out by chanting and cat-calling from Frisoli supporters.

Parts of the resolution charged Frisoli with failing to meet his responsibilities in administering the School Department, failing to provide the School Committee with adequate information and policy and failing to carry out policy.

Ackermann then opened the floor to debate, and groups supporting and opposing Frisoli were alternately allowed 20 minutes of speaking time.

Speakers opposing Frisoli included the Chamber of Commerce representative, a representative of the Black Parents Association, a representative of the Harvard Square Ministers Association, and a teacher at Cambridge High and Latin.

Speakers supporting Frisoli included several teachers, the senior class presidents of Cambridge High and Latin and Rindge Tech and Cambridge City Councillor Alfred E. Vellucci.

Vellucci called on the Committee to "reject the trumped up case that has been brought against Frisoli. If they dare to fire Frisoli tonight, I will lead a group of hundreds and thousands of people to bring him back," he said.

Vellucci said that the anti-Frisoli School Committee members "should be tried for high treason against the people of Cambridge."

The audience participation segment of the meeting was interupted at 8:35 p.m. by a bomb scare.

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