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January 29, 2001     (512) 463-0300

School Safety Legislation
Takes Aim at Campus Violence

AUSTIN - Plano Senator Florence Shapiro filed legislation Monday, January 29, that proposes to establish permanent funding for The Texas School Safety Center.

Located in San Marcos, the Texas School Safety Center is a joint effort of the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor's Office and Southwest Texas State University. The center provides educators with training and technical assistance aimed at reducing school violence and promoting safety. More than 2,100 Texas educators have received training since the center opened in 1999. The center also maintains an interactive web site that focuses on school safety and violence prevention. The center's web address is www.txssc.swt.edu.

"The Texas School Safety Center has been doing a great job, but has been funded by a grant from the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor's Office," Shapiro said. "In effect, what we're saying here today is that we, as state leaders, recognize the center's success and the good things they do for Texas schoolchildren."

According to the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, police in 1998 referred to the commission an average of one juvenile violent crime every 90 minutes, a homicide every four days, a sexual assault every 5 1/2 hours, an aggravated assault or attempted homicide every 2 1/2 hours, a burglary every 66 minutes and a drug referral every 47 minutes.

Nationwide, more than 250,000 students between the ages of 12 and 18 were victims of violent crimes ranging from sexual assault to robbery to aggravated assault in 1998, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Following the announcement of SB 430, the Senate unanimously approved Shapiro's Senate Concurrent Resolution 112, proclaiming January 29, 2001, Texas School Safety Day.

In other session action, the Senate approved Beaumont Sen. David Bernsen's Senate Resolution 94, recognizing Orange County Day from his 4th District in Southeast Texas. The Orange County group's presence was especially conspicuous: members of the Greater Orange County Chamber of Commerce wore bright orange blazers.

The Texas Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. Tuesday, January 30.

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