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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 23,1999
            President Clinton: Helping to Keep Our Schools Safe
                              April 23, 1999

Today, President Clinton will announce new assistance for the community of Littleton, Colorado and added resources for communities to help keep students safe at school. Specifically, he will announce: (1) up to $1.5 million in immediate supplemental funding from the Justice Department to assist the victims, their families, and the Littleton community with expenses relating to the recent school shooting; and (2) $70 million in Justice Department grants to help fund more than 600 school resource officers in 332 communities across the country.

Expanding assistance to victims. In response to the recent tragedy at Columbine High School and subsequent requests from Colorado authorities, the Justice Department will provide up to $1.5 million in immediate funds from the Crime Victims' Fund to support:

Helping schools work with law enforcement to prevent crime and violence

Encouraging communities to adopt comprehensive school safety strategies. In addition to today's announcements, the President will urge communities to apply for funds through the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative, which will provide up to $180 million this year -- and a total of $380 million over the next three years -- to help 50 communities develop and implement community-wide responses to school safety and youth violence. This initiative, which was also a product of the White House School Safety Conference, represents an unprecedented collaboration between the Departments of Justice, Education and Health and Human Services to provide comprehensive educational, law enforcement, mental health, juvenile justice, and other services to help communities prevent youth violence and drug abuse, in and out of school. Communities have until June 1, 1999 to apply for as much as $3 million each through this initiative.

Sending out 100,000 additional guides on the early warning signs of violence. Next week, the Departments of Justice and Education will distribute 150,000 additional copies of Early Warning Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools. The guide, aimed at teachers, principals, parents, and others who work with young people, provides information on how to identify and respond to the early warning signs of troubled youth that can lead to violence in schools. In addition, the guide also instructs schools on how to develop a violence prevention plan and provides a crisis procedure checklist for schools to use if violence occurs. Finally, the guide lists actions students can take -- such as listening to troubled friends, involving trusted adults, and asking law enforcement to conduct school safety audits -- to help create safer schools. More than 200,000 guides already have been distributed to schools across the nation.