Brenda McCoy's two children had never gone to school with blacks before. But when their rural district began accepting students bused from inner-city neighborhoods, they made some fast friends.
"Once you let the kids work it out by themselves, one on one, there's no problem," their mother said.Doris Brunson doesn't see it that way. Her suburban district has refused Kansas City children, despite pleas from judges and educators trying to desegregate schools. A recent Supreme Court ruling may finally force the district's hand, and that has her worried.
"It has nothing to do with race," the mother of two from Independence said. The inner-city students could bring drugs, and they could slow down her childrens' progress, she said. "We don't want any more problems than we already have."
To Pat Shanks, it's a matter of fairness. She and her husband moved to the suburb of North Kansas City when they decided to have a family.
"We live here and pay our taxes here. Some of us have to work two jobs to live in these neighborhoods. The kids who live here should go to these schools," she said.
In the 13-year history of Kansas City's desegregation case, no issue has created as much court wrangling, and as few results, as proposals to send inner-city students to predominantly white suburban schools.
So far, only 10 students have made the move - the 10 that came this fall to Mrs. McCoy's tiny district in rural Missouri City.
A ruling last Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court increases the likelihood that more children could be bused out of the city soon. No figure has ever been set for the number of minority students to be sent to the suburbs.