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Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools

Dear Principal and Teachers:

On June 13, after the tragic loss of life and injuries at Thurston High School in

Springfield, Oregon, President Clinton directed the Department of Education and the

Department of Justice to develop an early warning guide to help “adults reach out to

troubled children quickly and effectively.”

This guide is available in various formats here.
This guide

responds to that Presidential request. It is our sincere hope that this guide will provide you with the practical help

needed to keep every child in your school out of harm’s way.

America’s schools are among the safest places to be on a day-to-day basis, due to

the strong commitment of educators, parents, and communities to their children.

Nevertheless, last year’s tragic and sudden acts of violence in our nation’s

schools remind us that no community can be complacent in its efforts to make its schools

even safer. An effective and safe school is the vital center of every community whether it

is in a large urban area or a small rural community.

Central to this guide are the key insights that keeping children safe is a

community-wide effort and that effective schools create environments where children and

young people truly feel connected. This is why our common goal must be to reconnect with

every child and particularly with those young people who are isolated and troubled.

This guide should be seen as part of an overall effort to make sure that every school

in this nation has a comprehensive violence prevention plan in place. We also caution you

to recognize that over labeling and using this guide to stigmatize children in a cursory

way that leads to over-reaction is harmful. The guidelines in this report are based on

research and the positive experiences of schools around the country where the value and

potential of each and every child is cherished and where good practices have produced, and

continue to produce, successful students and communities.

We are grateful to the many experts, agencies, and associations in education, law

enforcement, juvenile justice, mental health, and other social services that worked

closely with us to make sure that this report is available for the start of school this

fall. We hope that you and your students and staff, as well as parents and the community,

will benefit from this information.

This guide is available in various formats here.
A Guide to Safe Schools


Richard W. Riley


U.S. Department of Education

Janet Reno

Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice


Janet Reno

Janet Reno was the 78th Attorney General of the United States (1993-2001) and was the first woman to hold that post. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton on February 11, 1993 and confirmed on March 11. MORE >


Richard Riley

Richard Wilson Riley, American politician, was the United States Secretary of Education under President Bill Clinton as well as the Governor of South Carolina. MORE >

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