Thursday, July 15, 1999
SAN ANTONIO - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn and Texas Education Commissioner Mike Moses held the first meeting of the Attorney General's School Violence Prevention Task Force today at the University of Texas at San Antonio. One of the goals of the Task Force includes ensuring that every school district has a crisis management plan.
"Since, by some accounts, less than ten percent of Texas school districts have a crisis management plan in place, there is obviously a need for practical advice. There is no excuse not to be prepared," Cornyn said.
"As the father of two public high school students, I'm encouraged by what I've heard today. The practical advice of these experts will give our schools the programs and strategies to make our schools safe," Cornyn added.
Task Force co-chair Mike Moses said, "This Task Force facilitates a constructive dialogue between parents, community leaders, teachers and principals in sharing workable solutions to school violence. It also gives them the resources available to prepare for the possibility that students today may act in a violent manner."
Task Force members expected to attend include Senator Florence Shapiro and Representative Henry Cuellar. The 22 member Task Force is comprised of teachers, principals, school superintendents, parents and law enforcement officials from across the state.
The Task Force is organized into three groups which will approach the issue of school violence prevention from various perspectives. One group will focus primarily on student and parent issues such as parental awareness, peer pressure and teen alienation. Another group will focus on school issues such as conflict resolution, crisis management plans and security policies. The third group will focus on related community-wide issues such as media violence, gangs and the need for after-school and weekend activities.
The Task Force will meet three more times over the next six months. Once the meetings are completed, the Task Force will issue a final report in April.
In Texas, according to TEA statistics, there were 200,000 assaults against students and 18,000 assaults against teachers recorded in the last four academic years. In this same time period, there have been 31,000 weapons confiscated in schools, and there have been 85,000 reported acts of vandalism or criminal mischief against schools or student property.
The tentative schedule for upcoming meetings of the Attorney General's School Violence Prevention Task Force is as follows:
September 7, 1999 - Lubbock
November 8, 1999 - Houston
February 3, 2000 - Dallas
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