August 17, 1999: Announcing New Steps to Reduce Violence


"Schools ought to be right next to our houses of worship as sanctuaries in America. They ought to be places where young people are completely safe and absolutely certain that they are. And each of us bears a responsibility."

President Bill Clinton
Tuesday, August 17, 1999

Today, at the White House, President Clinton announced a series of steps to help reduce youth violence: a sweeping new anti-violence public service advertising campaign; the appointment of an executive director of the National Campaign Against Youth Violence; and the distribution of $15 million in grants to local law enforcement agencies to target crime and violence in and around schools The President also called on Congress to pass common-sense gun measures to help keep guns out of the hands of children and criminals.

Unveiling a Network Anti-Violence Campaign. At the White House Strategy Session on Youth Violence on May 10, President Clinton challenged the entertainment industry to do its part to reduce youth violence. Today, the President announced that an extensive coalition of broadcast and cable networks will simultaneously air the prime-time debut of public service ads on "Talking with Kids About Violence." The ads, which feature children and the President discussing the need for parents to talk with their children about violence, will air between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on August 18th. This unprecedented effort will include every major television network, more than 20 cable channels, and a website which will provide the ads online. Many of the participating networks have pledged strong support for the new ads and will show them throughout the remainder of the year. A free booklet for parents on how to talk to their children about violence is available at, or by calling 1-800-CHILD44.

Appointing an Executive Director for the National Campaign Against Youth Violence. Following up on his call for a nationwide effort to address the issue of youth violence, President Clinton announced that Jeffrey Bleich will be the executive director of the National Campaign Against Youth Violence. Mr. Bleich has been nationally recognized by the American Bar Association as one of America's leading young attorneys, and 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:

New Grants to Strengthen Partnerships between Law Enforcement and Schools. President Clinton announced $15 million in Justice Department COPS grants for local law enforcement agencies across the country to form partnerships with schools and community organizations to target school violence and crime. 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, such as drug dealing and use, assaults, truancy, vandalism, and other student safety issues.

Urging Congress to Pass Common-Sense Gun Laws. President Clinton emphasized the importance of addressing the issue of youth access to guns as part of an overall strategy to reduce youth violence. The President urged Congress to pass measures that will close the gun show loophole and the loopholes in the assault weapons ban.

August 1999

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August 17, 1999

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