Court-ordered busing to achieve racial balance in the Jefferson County schools brought a violent reaction from some whites, especially in the southwestern parts of the county. School buses were damaged, stores looted, and other property destroyed in the September 1975 riots, which also resulted in 50 injuries and nearly 200 arrests. State and local police, supplemented by 800 members of the National Guard, brought an uneasy peace.
In response to the demonstrations, a group of white and black citizens formed Progress in Education to serve as a coordinating committee for people who supported busing. Made up of representatives from more than 20 other groups, PIE was always an informal organization. It served as a clearinghouse, hosted public forums, produced pro-busing literature, helped organize pro-busing rallies, and sent people to Washington to participate in congressional hearings on school desegregation.
As vocal supporters of busing, members of PIE often came under personal attack; one had a cross burned on her lawn. But the organization continued to fill its role as the voice for busing and school desegregation until 1977, when the members chose to disband because busing seemed to have been accepted by the community at large.