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To make schools safer

With the recent school slayings in their state still on their minds, Oregon's two senators have introduced a bill designed to keep a closer watch on students who bring guns to school.

Under the measure introduced this month by Sens. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, and Gordon Smith, a Republican, states would receive an incentive to pass laws requiring students who brought guns to school to be held for 72 hours by law enforcement authorities and undergo a psychological evaluation. A judge would determine whether a student posed a threat to society.

On June 13, President Clinton visited Thurston High School in Springfield, Ore., where two students were killed and 22 others were injured in a mass shooting May 21 in which another student stands accused. Mr. Clinton stopped at the school to console students, their parents, and teachers.

The president also used the opportunity to announce that he had instructed Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley and Attorney General Janet Reno to create a guidebook for schools on identifying troubled and potentially dangerous youths.

"What I hope we can do is to do a better job of kind of alerting ourselves and identifying kids that may have problems before these things happen, and then acting with greater strength and discipline to go forward," he said.

In addition, Mr. Clinton described the Wyden-Smith bill as a "very good suggestion." Last week, he announced that he also wants Ms. Reno and Mr. Riley to find ways to put more police officers in schools.

Also last week, more than 200 middle school students from gang-infested neighborhoods in Los Angeles visited Capitol Hill to present their safe-communities plans to Congress.

One more time

Just to make sure they've made their point, House Republicans gathered in the Capitol on June 16 to press again for more special education funding.

Rep. Bill Goodling, the Pennsylvania Republican who chairs the Education and the Workforce Committee, and other GOP members used the opportunity to slam President Clinton's proposed budget, which requested $4.55 billion for special education state grants in fiscal 1999, an increase of only 0.5 percent.

"Let's fund the special education mandate before even considering expensive, new federal education programs," Mr. Goodling said.

--JOETTA L. SACK [email protected]

Vol. 17, Issue 41, Page 27

Published in Print: June 24, 1998, as Federal File

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