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United states department of education office of elemenrary and secondary education

OCT 3, 1998

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Johannessen:

Thank you for your recent letter to Secretary Riley concerning your violence prevention efforts through the Shanelle Foundation.

The prevention of youth violence remains a high priority for both President Clinton and the Secretary. As you may be aware, on October 15, 1998, the President held the White House Conference on School Safety as a way to explore new solutions to the problem of youth violence. The conference was designed to build on the existing body of knowledge about young people and violent behavior, share best practices and model programs, and develop strategies to put these models in place in our Nation's schools and communities.

At this conference President Clinton announced a series of new initiatives designed to address many of the problems that schools and communities may face in the creation of safe enviroranents for our youth. Specifically, he proposed:

  1. A $12 million School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) program that will enable the Federal government to help local communities respond to school-related violent deaths;

  2. A new $65 million initiative to hire up to 2,000 community police and school resource officers to work in schools with serious crime problems, and to train police, educators and others to help recognize the early warning signs of violence;

  3. Plans to reform the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program that will be require schools to adopt more rigorous, comprehensive school safety plans, and

  4. (A $25 million Safe Schools-Safe Communities initiative designed to help 10 communities develop and implement a coordinated, comprehensive response to school safety.

The President also announced a partnership with MTV to engage youth in solutions to violence. Beginning in 1999, MTV will launch a yearlong media campaign -- "Fight For Your Rights: Take A Stand Against Youth Violence" -- designed to give youth a voice in the national debate on youth violence. 600 INDEPENDENCE AVE., S.W. WASHINGTON, D.C. 20202. Our mission is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the Nation.

As you can see, President Clinton and Secretary Riley are strongly committed to helping schools and communities effectively address the problem of youth violence. We cannot achieve our National Education Goals or ensure the ability of our youth to succeed in their lives unless we first make schools and neighborhoods safe places. Children with a chance to learn and grow in a safe environment will help strengthen and enrich our families, neighborhoods, and communities, and I commend your efforts and wish the Shanelle Foundation every success in helping others understand the dangers of gun violence.

To be exempt from federal income tax, an organization must be described in one of the sections of the Internal Revenue Code providing for exemption. For more information, you may wish to download the publication Tax-Exenipt Statusfor Your Organization at the Internal Revenue Service webpage at www.irs.gov.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (202) 260-3954, or visit us on the Internet at www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/SDFS.

William Modzeleski
Director, Safe and Drug-Free
Schools Program

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