Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Summit on school violence to begin today

In the wake of Monday's events, a national summit on school safety called by President Bush, which will begin today, should draw a lot of interest locally:

At a Sunday news conference called in anticipation of Tuesday's school safety summit, Rep. Anthony Weiner called on President Bush and GOP leaders on Capitol Hill to back restoration of funding for a federal program that put security officers in school hallways to guard against violent students and intruders.

The New York Democrat said the COPS in Schools program, set up after the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, had its budget gradually reduced over the past four years from $160 million annually to $5 million and then was phased out.

"But the threat of continued violence lingers," said Weiner. "Last week, real and fake guns were seized from New York City students in three separate incidents. Coupled with the recent shootings in Wisconsin, Colorado and Pennsylvania, it's clear that much more must be done to guard against tragedy here at home."

Weiner said Bush and House Speaker Dennis Hastert had displayed "shameful hypocrisy" in allowing the COPS in Schools program to be cut. He said that since the Amish school shootings on Oct. 2, Bush and Hastert had made statements in support of increased school protection.

"Bush and Hastert say they want to protect kids, but their actions don't match their rhetoric," Weiner said.

The COPS in Schools program had a budget of $164 million in the last year of the Clinton administration.

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