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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release June 16, 1997

       Highlights Success of Administration's Gun Free School Act
                 and Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program

Vice President Gore announced today that 6,276 students were expelled for bringing weapons to schools in 1995-96, showing that President Clinton's efforts to make schools safer are working.

The announcement, at a Department of Education conference on safe and drug-free schools, was based on preliminary data from 29 states and the District of Columbia. The figure of 6,276 expulsions -- the vast majority of them involving guns -- will grow when the other 21 states report later this month.

"Our schools must be places where kids aren't bullied, where guns and other weapons do not get through the door, where teachers aren't threatened, and where drugs are not used, sold or distributed," the Vice President told an audience of state and local officials, educators, and parents. "These numbers are irrefutable proof that President Clinton's plan to make our schools safe and drug-free is working."

The Administration's efforts, and the focus of the conference, are the Gun Free Schools Act and the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program, both of which were part of the 1994 Improving America's Schools Act. The two programs are designed to work hand-in-hand with one another.

The Gun Free Schools Act created a zero-tolerance policy against guns in schools, requiring each State to pass a law to expel students who bring guns to school; those failing to do so could lose Federal education funds. The Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program provides funds to 97 percent of school districts in America, covering 40 million students, to develop violence prevention and drug prevention programs.

Despite Republican efforts to terminate the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program, the President has fought successfully to maintain and expand it. Annual funding has risen from $466 million in 1995 and 1996 to $556 million in 1997 -- the current fiscal year. For 1998, the President has proposed $620 million.

"Today, the numbers are in and message is clear: There's no place for guns or violence in America's schools, the Vice President said.