President Clinton announced yesterday $100 million in grants aimed at reducing youth violence. Two communities where youngsters were gunned down at school were among the recipients.
The increase in shootings at schools in the past two years has heightened attention on the need to address youth violence. Clinton said his administration has worked for tougher gun laws and launched a grass-roots anti-violence campaign.
"These steps have made our schools safe, more disciplined, better learning environments," he said. "But, when it comes to protecting our children, we must do more." Meanwhile, in the Republican weekly address, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (Miss.) said that the president's promise to veto the GOP's $792 billion tax cut means that there will be little serious tax relief before the next election.
The grants Clinton announced were part of the Safe Schools/Healthy Schools Initiative, a joint effort of the departments of Education, Justice and Health and Human Services to develop methods to identify troubled youths and prevent violence.
The grantees include Jonesboro, Ark., where two students killed four others and a teacher, while wounding 10 people, at Westside Middle School in March 1998. Jonesboro plans to offer in-home counseling for at-risk families.
Springfield, Ore., where in May 1998 a 15-year-old pulled a rifle from his trench coat and killed two students and wounded 22 people, is trying to build ties between its schools and law enforcement.
In the GOP address, Lott said: "It looks as if real tax relief will have to wait until a Republican president can join your Republican Congress in enacting it into law."
"If our past experience with this administration is any guide, in a few weeks, as the government approaches the end of its fiscal year, President Clinton will want to make a deal," Lott said.
"He'll agree to some throwaway fixes in return for a massive hike in spending for all his pet projects," he said. "It would be impolite to call that blackmail, but we've been through this routine before."