Segregation in Denver Public Schools: Oral History Project

The History Colorado Center in Denver is partnering with KGNU on an oral history project to document the stories of those in Denver who were directly affected by busing and integration in the Denver Public Schools between 1973 and 1995. That was the time that DPS implemented a busing plan designed to make the school system more integrated following a Supreme Court Ruling that said DPS had deliberately segregated schools. The busing was an attempt to remedy the situation.   There was some success in achieving racial balance in the 20 years of busing, but massive “white flight” led to a dearth of white students to be bused by the early 90s.

Anyone who was impacted by the busing in DPS is invited to share their stories with History Colorado. You can contact Shanea Ruybal at


Diane Wysocki was a student at McMeen elementary school in 1965. One of the reasons her parents moved into the house was the proximity to the school. In 9th grade she got bused to Thomas Jefferson. Her mother lobbied the school board to have her return to her neighborhood school.


Alice Kelly was a teacher in Denver in the early 1970s who said she saw the underlying issue of inequality in the school system at that time.


Former Denver Public Schools board member Laura Lefkowits discusses the legacy of this controversial policy and compares segregation patterns of the ‘60s with today.


Donahue Hayes and his family moved to Denver in 1969 when he started as a freshman at East High school, a mile from his home. He says that he would often walk to school with friends. In his second year in high school, he was bused to South High School about 7 miles from his home, as part of the mandatory busing system in Denver Public Schools, in an effort to integrate the schools.