The Bridge Committee
The Bridge Committee is a novel. The only nonfiction aspect is the title itself, which is derived from a dignified-sounding name applied to the growing group of drug users whom the author managed to become close enough with to try to modify their behavior while teaching American history in junior high school. Other labels at that time could have included druggies, druggers, and burnouts. Using a nonjudgmental, individual approach, a teacher of fifteen-year-olds can and did have considerable impact. The stress is enormous, the setbacks frequent, and the frustrations painful. The reader is asked to avoid or at least resist allowing the fictitious plot to interfere with the aim of believing in the character of young people struggling through adolescence. They need positive role models. The sixties was a decade of turmoil. Against a backdrop of unpopular war there were protesters of almost everything. The most influential of these topics for the school-aged population was the forced racial integration of public schools. "Bussing" became a swear word. Those reaching puberty seemed the least ready for this kind of adjustment. The plot shows how well-meaning sanctimonious action can spiral out of control.