THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON'S REMARKS AT SCHOOL SAFETY EVENT
Grand Foyer, The White House
March 19, 1998
Today, President Clinton will speak to approximately sixty individuals from the education and law enforcement communities, as well as Members of Congress, on the findings of a new survey on school crime. The President will also announce new federal funds for school safety and receive the framework of a new report on school safety that has been jointly prepared by the Attorney General and the Secretary of Education. The President will announce: (1) the findings of the first-ever national survey of school principals on violence and discipline in U.S. schools; (2) the availability of $17.5 million in new funding for school safety from the President's COPS program; and (3) recommendations by the Attorney General and Secretary of Education for an Annual Report on School Safety. (See attached fact sheet)
The President will be introduced by Herb Berg, Superintendent of Alexandria (VA) Public Schools. He will give an account of the success that T.C. Williams High School has achieved in reducing crime and violence. As a large, urban high school, T.C. Williams is at risk for serious and violent crime problems. However, through effective law enforcement, parent involvement, and prevention programs, its crime and discipline problems have been significantly reduced.
Order of Speakers
Attorney General Janet Reno
Herb Berg, Superintendent of Alexandria Public Schools President Clinton
Keeping Our Schools Safe and Drug-Free March 19, 1998
Announcement: Today, the President announced: (1) the findings of the first-ever national survey of school principals on violence and discipline in U.S. schools; (2) the availability of $17.5 million in new funding for school safety from the President's COPS program; and (3) recommendations by the Attorney General and Secretary of Education for an Annual Report on School Safety.
"Violence and Discipline Problems in U.S. Schools: 1996-97." The National Center for Education Statistics released a national survey of principals from more than 1,200 public schools in the 50 states and Washington, D.C., on crime and violence in schools last year. Key findings of the survey include:
43% of schools reported no incidents of crime. And most schools
47% of schools reported less serious crimes to law enforcement. This includes an estimated 190,000 physical attacks or fights without a weapon, 116,000 incidents of thefts or larceny, and 98,000 incidents of vandalism.
10% of schools reported serious violent crimes. This includes an estimated 11,000 physical attacks or fights in which a weapon was used, 7,000 robberies, and 4,000 rapes or other types of sexual assault.
Schools with serious discipline problems were more likely to experience crime or violence. Principals rate absenteeism, tardiness, and fights as the three most common discipline problems among students.
Community Policing and School Safety. The Justice Department's COPS Office will make $17.5 million available for a new community policing program to address school safety. This initiative will fund partnerships among law enforcement, schools, and community groups to develop innovative approaches to reduce crime on or near school grounds.
Annual Report on School Safety. In his December 6, 1997 radio address, President Clinton called on the Attorney General and Secretary of Education to issue an annual report that principals, parents, and local officials could use to address their school crime problems. Today, Attorney General Reno and Secretary Riley presented the President with a framework for this report, which will be released at the beginning of every school year. This new report will include: an analysis of all existing national school crime data and an overview of state and local crime reporting; examples of schools and strategies that are successfully reducing school violence, drug use, and class disruption; actions that parents can take locally to combat school crime, including a local safety checklist; and a description of resources available to schools and communities to help create safe, disciplined, and drug-free schools.