From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
April 22, 1999
Contact: Jeremy Warren, (512) 463-0113

Rylander, Ellis, Dukes Urge Action on Safe Schools Legislation

(Austin) -- Following the tragic school shootings in Colorado on Tuesday, Comptroller Carol Keeton Rylander, Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and State Representative Dawnna Dukes (D Austin) held a press conference at Campbell Elementary School to urge quick passage of legislation to improve safety at Texas schools.

The three leaders urged the Legislature to move quickly on SB 1724, a Texas Performance Review recommendation to make classrooms safer by giving parents more information about violence and violence prevention programs in Texas schools. SB 1724 is expected to be finally passed by the Senate on Monday.

"The tragic shootings in Colorado should serve as an alarm to Texas parents, educators and lawmakers," said Ellis. "While we have passed strong laws that crack down on violence in the classroom, more can be done. This legislation will give parents easy access to information about violence and crime in their child's school, which will help parents work with schools to prevent violence like the tragedy in Colorado."

In many districts, parents are not informed about acts of violence that have occurred on campus, or whether a district has a specific plan to deal with violence. SB 1724 will:

Violence on campus is a growing problem across Texas. During the 1996-1997 school year there were nearly 9,000 reported incidents of gang-related violence; more than 45,000 students were assaulted, nearly 4,000 teachers were assaulted; and more than 500 guns and nearly 8,000 knives and other weapons were confiscated from students.

"With more and more kids carrying arms to school, we need to arm parents with information about violence and violence prevention programs in our classrooms to keep our kids safe."