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Honor Student Suspended for Refusing to Participate in Civil Defense Drill

Mar. 13, 1964 - A 16-year-old senior honor student at Wantagh High School in New York was suspended from classes today until next Friday because she refused to participate in a Civil Defense drill. The student, Susan Levenstein, was suspended for three days for the same reason last month. She said today that Civil Defense drills and air raid and fallout shelters were “ridiculous, useless, and harmful to students and adults.”

Miss Levenstein first decided against participating in the drills last May. “After reading newspaper stories, magazine articles, and books on the subject, I decided that I had gained the courage of my convictions,” she said.

Miss Levenstein’s father, Sidney, is an educator and a social worker. Her mother, Phyllis, a clinical psychologist, said her daughter’s activities were “self-directed.”

Dr. William Krum, Superintendent of Schools, explained today that New York state required schools to hold three Civil Defense drills each year.

Dr. Krum praised Miss Levenstein as a person and for her scholastic ability, but he noted that “she thinks we are trying to make her a conformist.”


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