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Volume 10, Number 3
May/June 1994

We Need a National Strategy for Safe Schools


The sixth of our National Education Goals calls for every school in America to be free of drugs and violence by the year 2000 and to offer a disciplined environment conducive to learning. The new Safe Schools Act allocates $20 million to this effort in the form of 20 one-year grants, intended to reinforce existing school safety programs.

As a 15-year veteran of efforts to prevent gang violence and create safe schools in southern California, I find the current legislation myopic and unrealistic. If we are truly serious about Goal Number 6—if we are not just mouthing fine-sounding words—we must have a national strategy that creates a shared vision, includes every state (not just 20), and provides clear guidelines for safety initiatives at the individual school level. Such a strategy should include, at a minimum, three components:

1. Require the creation of comprehensive school safety plans at all public schools.

Every school administrator has a duty to protect the health and safety of his students and staff.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


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