School Violence and
Kids from 2:00 to 8:00PM

Reauthorization of the COPS Program
The Local Law Enforcement Block Grant
Drug Availability, Treatment and Testing in Prisons
Mid-Sized Cities and
Rural Communities Methamphetamine Initiative

Immediate Action on Comprehensive Gun Safety Legislation
Federal Legislation to Combat Illegal Gun Sales
Preemption of Local Government Access to the Courts
Drug Courts








WHEREAS, there is significant concern in the nation about juveniles and violence -- concern about young people, both as perpetrators and as victims of crime; and

WHEREAS, the recent series of youth shootings at schools, such as in Conyers (GA), at Columbine High School in Colorado, and in West Paducah (KY), Jonesboro (AR), Edinboro (PA), Springfield (OR), and Pearl (MS) highlights the growing problem of youth violence across the nation; and

WHEREAS, to work toward the goal of violence-free schools, The United States Conference of Mayors sponsored on September 24, 1998 the first National Summit on School Violence and Kids from 2:00 to 8:00pm, held in Salt Lake City; and

WHEREAS, during that National Summit, mayors, educators, students, police chiefs, health experts, arts, parks and recreation officials and representatives from the media and entertainment industries developed a National Action Plan which contains many critical recommendations in four areas: School Violence; Kids from 2:00 to 8:00pm; Youth Violence and the News Media; and Youth Violence and the Entertainment Industry; and

WHEREAS, Attorney General Janet Reno actively participated in the National Summit and the drafting of the National Action Plan, which has been presented to President Clinton and the nation at both the White House Conference on School Safety in October of 1998 and the White House Strategy Session on Children, Violence and Responsibility on May 10, 1999; and

WHEREAS, while many of the action items can and are being implemented by mayors working within their own cities with parents, police officials, educators, health experts, the private sector and non-profit entities, other recommendations require a partnership with the federal government; and

WHEREAS, Congress is considering legislation intended to address the serious concern of juvenile justice and youth crime prevention,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Congress and the Administration support the following menu of recommendations/interventions for local action contained in the National Action Plan on School Violence and Kids from 2:00 to 8:00pm which either require federal action of assistance, or could be greatly enhanced by a stronger partnership with the federal government:

    100,000 school counselors are needed, modeled on the successful COPS program. School uniforms should be worn by all students to promote discipline and help equalize students from all socio-economic backgrounds, in order to enhance learning and make schools safer. A comprehensive effort to reduce youth-related gun violence is needed including passage of "one gun a month" legislation, elimination of the federal gun show loophole to cut sales of weapons to youth, support for the personalization of guns, and a requirement that gun owners be held criminally liable for children who gain access to improperly stored guns. Weapons/Crisis hotlines should be available for students to report knowledge of other students carrying weapons, as well as students who make threats of violence or talk about suicide. Metal detectors help reduce school violence and should be made available to schools that need them. Students who bring weapons to school should be held for 72 hours for psychological evaluation. Troubled kids must receive early assessment. Police officers in and around schools help reduce violence and provide role models. Police presence in schools should vary - DARE works best in elementary schools; police officers are more often needed in high schools. Police must be allowed to conduct random searches of lockers and backpacks as a preventive effort to reduce violence. Violent juvenile felony offenders should be prosecuted as adults, where appropriate, so that they understand and are held accountable for the consequences of their actions. Confidentiality must be eliminated for juveniles who commit violent felonies so that their records can be transferred to the adult criminal justice system and made available to school systems. 100,000 new teachers are needed to reduce class size, which will lead to safer learning environments. In addition, school modernization (facilities, technology, recreational alternatives) must be implemented to ensure safe school environments. Conflict resolution and anger management must be taught in schools, utilizing programs that have proven to be effective, and beginning as early as kindergarten. Every teacher and police officer should have training in conflict resolution. Alternative schools must be available for dropouts, students who are suspended or expelled, and others not able to learn in a typical school setting. In addition, in-school facilities must be available for disruptive students. Zero drug and alcohol tolerance must be enforced at every school. Critical substance abuse treatment and other support services should be provided to students found to be in need.   School systems must open school facilities for after-school programs in such areas as continued learning, physical education, arts, music and recreation. Solutions must be found to address funding and insurance issues that limit the use of schools. Before-school programs are needed for the children of parents who must be at work, especially if school start times are to be made later in the morning. Safe weekend and summertime programs are needed, especially for latchkey kids. Communities of faith and community-based organizations should be encouraged to provide youth activity centers before school, after school and on weekends. Youth services hotlines are needed to provide parents and kids one-stop-shopping information on all services provided by agencies and community organizations in a city. Neighboring communities should cooperate, link and standardize services. Parks, recreation, physical fitness and sports programs can play a powerful role in helping kids stay out of trouble and must be supported. Sports and physical fitness programs must be supported as part of the school curriculum for all students. More local parks are needed and some brownfields should be converted into parks. Arts and music programs must be supported because they increase learning skills, help reduce violence and truancy, and give kids a positive outlet for self-expression. More of these programs are needed in our nation’s schools as part of the curriculum.   Community Schools with in-house health clinics, social services agencies and police involvement can help prevent crime and offer a meaningful alternative to youth, and must be supported. Junior ROTC for high school students should be considered as an inexpensive resource which provides the opportunity for collaboration, and offers discipline, structure and recreation. Police must be involved in prevention, therefore the COPS program must be continued and expanded. Prevention needs to be incorporated into all police training. In addition, police officers should work with probation officers to monitor youth offenders. Gang prevention and early intervention strategies to prevent young students from becoming involved in gangs must be a top priority. Youth must be provided a safe means to report gang activity.

After-school, summer jobs and school-to-career programs are needed, and creative employment opportunities must be found for younger kids who want jobs. On-the-job counseling and mentoring must also be provided to help young workers succeed in jobs. Mentors and counselors need training.