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Office of Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 7, 1999

                              June 7, 1999

Today, as part of the White House Conference on Mental Health, the President will announce a national school safety training program for teachers and school personnel, which is being launched by the National Education Association (NEA), the satellite company EchoStar, and other public and private partners. The goal of the campaign is to get teachers and school personnel the school safety training they need for the coming school year. Among the participants in this major nationwide public/private partnership are the Departments of Education, Justice, and Health and Human Services. The effort will include a national school safety network of satellite dishes in at least 1,000 school districts and a comprehensive year-long instructional effort for teachers, schools, and communities, including how to identify and help troubled children and other important safety issues.

A New School Safety Network
In order to make sure school districts have the technology to receive the new materials, the satellite company EchoStar, which is based in Littleton, Colorado, is donating satellite dishes to at least 1000 school districts, and its partner Future View, is donating 40 hours of free time for programming. President Clinton will challenge other members of the business community, including cable companies, public television stations, and other media outlets, to donate resources so that every school district is able to receive the materials.

Instructional Program for School and Community Personnel The Departments of Education, Justice, and Health and Human Services will participate in this public-private partnership by providing funding and other resources to develop at least three training sessions; assisting in the distribution of any materials; providing technical assistance in developing lesson plans; making government experts available for training sessions; and working with NEA, EchoStar, and the other partners to coordinate outreach to schools.

In creating the lesson plans for the training sessions, the NEA has reached out to members of the Learning First Alliance, including the American Federation of Teachers, the National Association of State Boards of Education, the National Parent Teachers Association, and other national education organizations, as well as the Fraternal Order of Police and the American Psychological Association. The Harvard School of Public Health also will participate. The partnership plans to transmit the training to school districts, which will then be able to distribute the material by videotape to local schools and hold hands-on training sessions with teachers, educational personnel, and community participants, including law enforcement officers.

In its first event in October of this year, the partnership will host a training session at which teachers and school personnel can learn how to identify warning signs of troubled youth and what resources are available to help those children. The training sessions will be transmitted via donated satellites and through other means.

Future meetings will include discussion of common sense school security measures; school mental health services; programs to help isolated and stigmatized students; comprehensive safe school plans; developing partnerships between schools and the broader community, including law enforcement and mental health authorities, and outreach to parents.