Statement by Secretary Spellings on the Release of Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2006 - December 13, 2006

Record Number: 2923
Displayed from: Dec 13, 2006 , until: Dec 24, 2006

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings earlier this month issued the following statement on the release of Indicators of School Crime and Safety, a cooperative effort by the Departments of Justice and Education: For our children to learn, our schools must be safe. All American parents want to know they are sending their children to a safe learning environment. And our children deserve schools in which they don't have to be afraid of violence and can focus on their studies. While violent crime rates in our schools are about half the levels of the early 1990s, a recent series of tragic shootings have led us to reexamine and redouble our efforts. This fall, I joined Attorney General Gonzales in leading President Bush's Conference on School Safety. We brought together law enforcement, school officials and community experts to share effective strategies and emphasize what all of us can do including students to prevent school violence. I also have appointed the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Advisory Committee, which will advise me on federal, state and local programs designed to create safe, drug-free learning environments, and on issues related to crisis planning for our schools. The annual Indicators of School Crime and Safety provides an update to monitor our progress towards making schools safer. While this year's report shows that crime rates have continued to decline, even one incident is too many. This report will help school officials and law enforcement better focus their resources and efforts to ensure our schools are safe and our students protected. The federal government supports local efforts to improve school safety by providing assistance and lending expertise, along with $535 million this year to fund programs directly related to school safety. Other funding measures include: * More than $1 billion through the Safe Schools/Healthy Students grant program since the grant was first awarded in 1999. * $115 million over the past four years through the Department of Education's Emergency Response & Crisis Management grant program to improve and expand upon school crisis response plans, including $26 million this year for the School Emergency Preparedness Initiative to help elementary and secondary schools plan and prepare for threats, including shootings and gang-related activity. * Through a partnership with the Secret Service, funding to train 74,000 local education and law enforcement personnel in threat assessment. * Under Project SERV (School Emergency Response to Violence), $24 million since 2001 for schools impacted by violence to restore their learning environment. To view the full report Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2006 please visit: http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007003

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.