Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bush's Summit on School Violence Fingers Schools as Solution

School violence buzz continues. This time the administration is responding. In a summit today in Maryland suburbs, Bush, Spellings, and several cabinet members met with community leaders, experts, and concerned parents to at least demonstrate a federal interest in the recent school violence that claimed lives in Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The message for the morning was cooperation and coordination. Bush took a few cracks on the chin when reporters revealed that the Bush administration has recommended cutting $347 million in school-safety grants for states this year due to their "ineffective" nature.

Despite these violent acts including: yesterday's account of a 13-year-old student in Joplin, Mo., who carried an AK-47 into his middle school and fired a shot into a ceiling; and schools in Virginia, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Wisconsin that have been closed or locked down in the past week because of threats of violence or guns school violence as a trend is on a downturn.

But that doesn't mean that we should avoid policy solutions. Any policy solution should include discussion about gun control. The San Francisco Chronicle publishes an opininon here worth reading. Might be a good time to slide Bowling for Columbine into the Netflix queue. Bush is right that we must focus on school preparedness for crisis as well as creating a culture of identifying and confronting brewing violence among hostile and disaffected youth. Bush is wrong for avoiding any discussion about guns. For sh*t's sake, can we please keep AK-47s off the streets. And can we please, please do something about legislators like Republican Frank Lasee who want to tackle violence with clandestinely armed teachers in the schools.

*update: While we're at it, focusing all the potential policy fixes on schools, here's an angle by the New York Times suggesting things could have gone smoother for law enforcement in the Pennsylvania case.


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