View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 6, 1999

April 6, 1999



SUBJECT:       Annual Reports on Hate Crimes in Schools and College

One of the greatest challenges facing our Nation is to ensure that all Americans share the same opportunities, regardless of their race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or disability.

To meet this challenge, we must ensure that our Nation's laws fully protect all its citizens. That is why I have called on the Congress to pass legislation to strengthen existing Federal hate crimes laws by removing needless barriers to prosecuting violent crimes based on race, color, religion, or national origin and expanding the law to cover acts of violence committed because of a person's sexual orientation, gender, or disability. This legislation will assist us in responding to the kind of heinous and cowardly hate crimes we have witnessed in the last year.

At the same time, we must learn more about the prevalence of hate crimes and other acts of intolerance -- especially among our young people, whose attitudes and experiences will shape the America of the 21st century. In order to better understand the problem of hate crimes and intolerance among young people, I direct the Attorney General and the Secretary of Education to include in their annual report card on school safety a section on hate crimes among young people, covering crimes committed both during and after school. In addition, I direct the Secretary of Education, with appropriate assistance from the Attorney General, to collect data on hate crimes and bias on college campuses for periodic publication.

These steps will help us better understand the problems of bigotry we face among young people, and to improve the ways we respond to these problems, through improved curricula, after-school youth programs, and similar measures. At the same time, our proposed legislation will help to ensure that when hate crimes do occur, they are prosecuted as effectively as possible. I appreciate your commitment to improving the enforcement of this Nation's laws and to fighting bigotry among young people and others, and I look forward to your continuing leadership in these areas.


# # #