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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 15, 1998

Creating Safe, Disciplined, and Drug-Free Schools

Many of our nations schools report difficulties with maintaining order and discipline. In the 1996-97 school year, 41% of public schools reported moderate discipline problems and 16% reported serious discipline problems. Among the most common discipline problems reported were tardiness, truancy, fist fights, and student drug, alcohol and tobacco use. Moreover, schools that had more serious discipline problems were more likely to report crime or violence. That is why the President will outline a proposal to overhaul and strengthen the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program to ensure that students have safe, disciplined and drug-free environments for learning.

Revamping Safe and Drug-Free Schools. President Clinton will announce his plan for the overhaul of the nearly $600 million Safe and Drug-Free Schools program to provide more effective prevention programs for the reduction of drugs and violence in schools, more accountability for results, and better targeting to those schools that need the most assistance.

          Adopt and enforce, clear and fair discipline polices, 
          such as zero tolerance polices for guns and drugs, 
          school uniforms, and closed campus policies, and parent 
          notification and involvement.

          Secure schools and pathways through implementing measures 
          such as metal detectors, and formal agreements with law 
          enforcement or safety officials to patrol school grounds 
          and pathways to school.

          Provide effective anti-drug and violence prevention 
          programs, including programs that teach responsible 
          decision-making, mentoring, mediation, or other activities 
          aimed at changing behaviors.  Funded activities must 
          demonstrate effectiveness in helping to create a drug-free 
          and safe learning environment.

          Collect data and report to the public results by providing 
          annual report cards on the number and type of school-related 
          drug and/or violence incidents.

          Assess and intervene for troubled youth through procedures 
          to identify students for evaluation and counseling; training 
          for teachers and staff; and providing linkages between 
          district officials, mental health, and other community 
          professionals where appropriate.

          Connect to after-school activities for youth to extend the 
          school day and/or develop links to other after-school 
          programming, and help provide children with meaningful 
          connections to responsible adults in the community.

          Develop plan for crisis management, such as a shooting on 
          school grounds or drug overdoses.  The plan will also 
          address assistance for victims, contacts with parents, law 
          enforcement, counseling, and communication with the media.

Taking on Bullying. Bullying often interferes with learning, and when perpetrators go unpunished, a climate of student fear can take over. Youths who are victimized by bullies occasionally take drastic measures -- which can lead to violent behavior or weapons-carrying.

Encouraging School Uniform Policies. School uniform policies, combined with other prevention efforts, have shown promise in helping to reduce violence while promoting discipline and respect in school. Because of this, the Clinton Administration has encouraged schools to consider adopting school uniform policies by sharing with every school district a school uniforms manual prepared by the Department of Education in consultation with local communities and the Department of Justice.