the destiny of our descendants, not only our children but our grandchildren as well. So tonight, on September 9th 1974, we find our city on notice. Faced by an order to implement a plan in which there is no consensus, challenged by the need to preserve our decency, despite our differences. And as we are on notice tonight as Mayor, I'm serving notice. To those who would resort to violence or use our school children as instruments of political or personal gain in the days ahead, to every mother and father, I pledge tonight that your Mayor and that your police department will tolerate no threat to the well-being of your children. The police commissioner, DeGrazia, who will pursue relentlessly anyone and everyone - when dangers are students, black or white, high school or grade school, and that the power of the prosecution faces all who
would take the law into their own hands, in any way. To those who would violate the order and peace of our city, and those who would exploit the tensions of this week and the weeks to come, jeopardizing the young and the innocent, I promise swift and sure punishment. We will pursue and prosecute any individual, white or black, male or female, young or old who tries to interfere with any child's right to go to school. I know the court order presents us with a complicated plan. No one believes the problems won't arise or the best of intentions can fully anticipate the unexpected. But those among us who cannot agree with the plan must remember that compliance with the law does not mean acceptance of it And that toleration does not mean endorsement. Now to those who do not believe in violence but who choose to keep your sons and daughters at home, that is your decision.
But I ask you to consider carefully the consequences of that act. What happens to your children in October and November and the middle of December? How will they catch up to their classmates when they return to school? Who will explain to them why they have fallen behind and how will they ever get ahead? These are difficult questions every parent must answer. To his or her own child. Our job must be to minimize the hardships imposed upon these children, to keep them safe from harm and the poison of prejudice.