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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 17, 1999
                              August 17, 1999

Today the President will announce a series of steps to help reduce youth violence. First, the President will announce a sweeping new anti-violence public service advertising campaign which every major television network and more than 20 cable channels have agreed to air beginning August 18th during prime time. Second, the President will announce that Jeff Bleich will be the new executive director of the National Campaign Against Youth Violence. Finally, the President will announce that the Justice Department will distribute $15 million in COPS school-based partnership grants to local law enforcement agencies to form partnerships with schools and community organizations to target crime and violence in or around schools.

Network Anti-Violence Roadblock. At the White House Strategy Session on Youth Violence on May 10, the President challenged the entertainment industry to do its part to combat youth violence. Today, the President will announce that an extensive coalition of broadcast and cable networks will join together in an unprecedented effort to air simultaneously the prime time debut of public service ads on the theme of "Talking with Kids About Violence." The ads, which feature children and the President talking about the need for parents to talk to their kids about violence, will air between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on August 18. This first-ever Ad Council television "roadblock" will include ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, UPN, WB, A&E, Animal Planet, BET, CNN, CNN Airport, Comedy Central, Country Music Television, Discovery Channel, Discovery Digital Networks, FOX Family Channel, Headline News, the History Channel, the Learning Channel, Lifetime, MTV, the Nashville Network, Nickelodeon, TBS, TNT, Travel Channel, TV Land, Univision, VH-1, and, a website with video streaming capability, which will provide the spot online. Many of the participating networks have pledged strong support for the new ads and will show them throughout the remainder of the year. The public service ads were sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Advertising Council, and Children Now. A free booklet for parents on how to talk about violence is available at, or by calling 1-800-CHILD44.

Executive Director for National Campaign Against Youth Violence. Following up on his call for a National Campaign Against Youth Violence, the President will announce that Jeffrey Bleich will be the executive director of this effort. Mr. Bleich has been nationally recognized by the American Bar Association as one of America's leading young attorneys. He is the managing partner in the San Francisco office of Munger, Tolles and Olson. Mr. Bleich will head an independent, national, non-partisan campaign that will address the problem of youth violence by: (1) serving as an information clearinghouse to share what programs work in one community with communities all over the country; (2) securing commitments from all sectors of society to do their part to help reduce violence; and (3) helping give parents more tools to protect their children from violence.

New Grants to Strengthen Partnerships Between Law Enforcement and Schools. The President will announce $15 million in Justice Department Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants for local law enforcement agencies across the country to form innovative partnerships with schools or community organizations to target specific problems of crime and violence in or around schools. A total of 247 grants will be awarded to 226 communities in 41 states and the District of Columbia. COPS School-Based Partnerships grants emphasize the use of community policing and problem solving methods to address the causes of school-related crime and disorder problems, such as drug dealing and use, assaults, truancy, vandalism, and other student safety issues.