- The Washington Times - Monday, October 2, 2006

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The Bush administration will host a conference next week to discuss the recent rash of school violence across the country, the White House said yesterday.

Presidential spokeswoman Dana Perino said the conference will bring together education and law-enforcement officials to talk about the nature of the problem and federal action that can help communities prevent violence and deal with its aftermath.

Three schools have been hit by deadly attacks in the past week, the latest attack coming yesterday in Pennsylvania’s Amish country.

“The president is deeply saddened and troubled by the recent school violence and shootings that have taken place in different communities across America,” Mrs. Perino said. “It breaks America’s collective heart when innocent children who are at school to learn are violently taken hostage and cut down in their own schools.”

Mrs. Perino said the conference was still in the planning stages, so a specific date, location and other details were not ready to be announced. It was not clear whether President Bush would attend.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and Bush domestic policy adviser Karl Zinsmeister met yesterday at the White House to discuss the conference. Mrs. Perino said participants on the education side would include groups like the National Parent Teacher Association, school principals and teachers’ unions.

The FBI would be among those representing law enforcement, she said.

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