State AG discusses school violence

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— Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar stopped in Steamboat Thursday near the end of a whirlwind tour of every county in Colorado to discuss the issue of youth violence. From 1 to 2 P.M. Salazar and Dr. Delbert Elliot of the University of Colorado, held court in the Human Services Center to explain the mission of Safe Communities-Safe Schools.
In the wake of the tragic shootings last year at Columbine High School in Littleton, Salazar has made it his mission to educate the communities of Colorado about youth violence.
He said that protecting this country's young people is the job not only of schools but of entire communities.
The Safe Communities-Safe Schools initiative is a partnership of the Colorado Trust, the Attorney General's Office, the Colorado Department of Education and a number of other public and private groups interested in protecting the state's children.
Among other things, the Safe Communities-Safe Schools program encourages schools to develop a behavior or discipline code in order to make it clear what types of behavior will not be tolerated and to help support a positive school climate.
Salazar also talked about the gathering of community and school board leaders, including Superintendent Cyndy Simms, about the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado.
That center serves as an information clearinghouse to provide schools with information it has collected throughout the country on how to effectively combat school violence. It also will provide technical assistance to school communities by telephone, email, listserv and at scheduled meetings.
His traveling companion, Elliot, is preparing a report to be presented to the U.S. Surgeon General on school violence and prevention techniques. He is the director of the CU violence prevention center.
"We're trying to form a true community-school partnership," Elliot said.
Salazar and Elliot have visited more than 100 schools since last spring to talk about their findings on the prevention of youth violence.

To reach Avi Salzman call 871-4203 or e-mail asalzman@amigo.net.

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