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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 1999

STATEMENT OF GOVERNOR GEORGE H. RYAN

"On behalf of the people of the State of Illinois, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies, our prayers and our support to the people of Littleton, Colorado; and especially to the families of those killed or wounded at Columbine High School.

"Nothing can prepare a community for a tragedy like this because no one believes, or wants to believe, that violence on this scale can sweep through a school lunchroom and library.

"Unfortunately, several events during the last few years in schools across the nation should convince us that we must take greater steps to protect our children and their teachers in their classrooms.

"Life is full of a lot of pressures, even for children, and we have to help families, communities and schools get the tools they need to help young people cope with these pressures, whether it's alcohol or drug abuse, or depression or inadequacy.

"Secondly, we have to take steps to improve safety in our schools and to give communities the resources to stop violence before it consumes innocent lives. Yesterday I talked with Attorney General Jim Ryan and told him we must redouble our efforts to pass his "Safe to Learn" proposal.

"The attorney general spent a lot of time and listened to a lot of experts on this proposal and I believe it's a good step toward making our schools safer. I urge legislators to finish the job they've started and to send this bill to my desk as quickly as possible."


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