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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 13, 1998

Keeping Our Schools Safe

June 13, 1998

Announcement: In his radio address to the nation, the President directed the Secretary of Education and the Attorney General to develop a guide to help teachers and principals identify and respond to the early warning signs of troubled youth that can lead to school violence. The guide will be made available to all schools nationwide when classes begin in the fall.

Helping Principals and Teachers Respond to the Early Warning Signs of Troubled Youth. In an ongoing effort to provide communities with the tools they need to keep their schools safe, the President called on the Secretary and the Attorney General to work with school and law enforcement officials to develop a guide on the early warning signs of troubled youth. The guide will:

  1. Help schools identify the the early signs that can lead to violence. Prior to engaging in violent behavior, young people often send warning signs. Some of the signs include: obsessive preoccupation with death and violence, emotional outbursts, attempted suicide, threats of violence, and drug use. The signs become more lethal when youths have access to guns, explosives, and other weapons. The guide will provide faculty with information about the signs exhibited by troubled children, and help place universities and technical assistance centers at the disposal of schools for further information.
  2. Recommend actions schools can take when students engage in violent behavior. Once the warning signs have been identified or after violence has occurred, schools need to be given the tools to respond. The guide will contain recommended crisis intervention plans to help schools react appropriately to student threats and violent acts. In addition, the guide will develop a network of information resources for schools and parents to help them quickly obtain professional assistance when they need it.

Pushing Congress to Enact Comprehensive Juvenile Crime Legislation and Funding. Children need to be safe not only in their schools, but also in their communities. To this end, the President challenged Congress to pass his comprehensive youth violence bill, which would add prosecutors and probation officers, stiffen penalties, and bar violent juveniles from buying a gun for life. The President also urged Congress to fund his $95 million At-Risk Youth Initiative so communities can invest in truancy, after-school, and other prevention programs for our youth.

An Ongoing Effort to Improve the Safety of Our Schools:

     Community Policing and School Safety.  In March, the President
     announced $17.5 million for an innovative community policing 
     program to reduce school crime.

     Annual Report on School Safety.  At the President's directive, 
     the Attorney General and Secretary of Education will issue an 
     annual report that principals and parents can use to address 
     their school crime problems.  The report will include national 
     school crime data, successful strategies to reduce school 
     violence, and a local safety checklist for parents.