School Climate & Safety

Teens Meet With Clinton, Hill Leaders on Violence

By Adrienne D. Coles — October 27, 1999 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

More than 350 students got a chance to speak their piece during the Voices Against Violence Congressional Teen Conference convened here last week by the House’s top Democrat.

“Violent crime is at a seven-year low, but it has been a tough time for American youth,” Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, the House minority leader, told the crowd of junior high and high school students.

They were selected by 127 Democratic and 3 Republican members of Congress to attend the two-day conference held Oct. 19 and 20.

“We realized there was something missing from this debate: your input,” Mr. Gephardt, a Democrat, said. “You understand what causes school violence, and you see its effects. You’re the experts we need to listen to.”

The conference also provided President Clinton, who met with attendees on Oct. 19, with an opportunity to release the “1999 Annual Report on School Safety,” which was prepared by the departments of Education and Justice.

“It shows that, once again, the vast majority of schools are safe. Crimes are down, in and out of school,” Mr. Clinton said of the report. “The bad news is we’ve had Columbine, Jonesboro, Springfield, Pearl--I could go on and on--all of these places where there have been horrible examples of school violence.”

According to the report, school crime rates declined between 1993 and 1997, from an estimated 155 school-related crimes for every 1,000 students ages 12 to 18 to about 102 such crimes.

Most school crime involves theft, and students ages 12 to 18 were more likely to be victims of serious violent crime away from school than at school.

In 1997, the last year for which statistics were available, about 24 out of every 1,000 students were victims of serious violent crime, while only eight of every 1,000 students were victims of such crimes at school or going to and from school, the study found.

Over the course of two days, the teenagers here met in small groups to discuss the causes of youth violence, learn about violence prevention, craft responses to violence, and learn skills to implement solutions.

‘Children’s Crusade’

In addition, two California school administrators who traveled to 32 cities this past summer to talk with youngsters about violence shared their findings from what they call the “Children’s Crusade.”

Howard Haas, the former principal of La Miranda High School in La Miranda, Calif., and Alex Aitcheson, the former director of education services for the 10,200-student Val Verde Unified School District in Riverside County, put more than 60 hours of one-on-one interviews and classroom discussions on videotape during their two-month trek. The two hope to chronicle their efforts in a documentary.

Mr. Clinton also took time at the meeting to touch on proposals by his administration.

He briefly cited his education budget priorities, which include funding to help hire more teachers, build and renovate schools, and expand mentoring programs.

Echoing Mr. Gephardt, he also urged Congress to pass gun-control legislation to “help us to keep guns out of the wrong hands.”

In addition, he asked the students to “speak up” for hate-crime legislation, noting the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, in Wyoming a year ago and the shootings at a Jewish community center in Granada Hills, a suburb of Los Angeles in August.

“You live in the most modern of all worlds, and yet the biggest problem we’ve got is the oldest of human society: People being scared of people who are different from them. And you can help that,” the president said.

Related Tags:

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety What the Research Says A Hallmark of School Shooters: Long History of Social Rejection
New research finds that shooters in K-12 schools are more often "failed joiners" than loners.
5 min read
Butler County Sheriff Deputies stand on the scene at Madison Local Schools, in Madison Township in Butler County, Ohio, after a school shooting on Feb. 29, 2016.
Sheriff deputies were on the scene of a shooting at Madison Local Schools, in Butler County, Ohio, in 2016.
Cara Owsley/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP
School Climate & Safety 4 Myths About Suspensions That Could Hurt Students Long Term
New longitudinal research shows that longer in- and out-of-school suspensions have severe consequences for students.
5 min read
Image of a student sitting at a desk in a school hallway.
School Climate & Safety Photos The Tense and Joyous Start to the 2021 School Year, in Photos
Students are headed back to school with the threat of the Delta variant looming. How is this playing out across the country? Take a look.
School Climate & Safety Former NRA President Promotes Gun Rights at Fake Graduation Set Up by Parkland Parents
A former NRA president invited to give a commencement address to a school that doesn’t exist was set up to make a point about gun violence.
Lisa J. Huriash, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
2 min read
David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, speaks during the CPAC meeting in Washington on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2010.
David Keene, the former president of the NRA, promoted gun rights in a speech he thought was a rehearsal for a commencement address to graduating students in Las Vegas. The invitation to give the speech was a set up by Parkland parents whose son was killed in the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP