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Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor

From Fox News:

Activist groups, including Scouting for All, urge President Obama not to accept the honorary Presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until they stop discriminating.

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48 school deaths highest in years

By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
June 28, 2004

The school year just ending was one of the deadliest in years, according to preliminary data showing 48 school-related violent deaths from August through June. That's more than in the past two school years combined and more than in any year in the past decade. The most recent incidents include a suspected murder-suicide involving a cafeteria worker in Salt Lake City and the near-fatal stabbing of a Boston high school senior, whose attacker stabbed himself to death while police pursued him.

The 2002-2003 school year saw 16 violent deaths in and around schools, down from 17 the previous year, according to National School Safety And Security Services, a Cleveland firm that tracks school violence. That
includes not just violence by students but any homicide or suicide on school property, on the way to or from school or while attending or traveling to or from a school-sponsored event. That's the definition used by the federal government. But a few law enforcement officials and school safety advocates say the nation's focus on terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001, is beginning to drain money and attention from efforts to keep schools safe.

They also say they're seeing an increase in gang-related school crime that they fear will worsen. (Related item: Gangs 'migrating') "It's a huge problem," says C. Ronald Huff, a criminology professor at the University of California-Irvine. He says funding for school-based and community policing is "just being decimated." President Bush's 2005 budget proposes a 40% drop in spending for juvenile crime prevention, following a 44% cut. In 2002, Congress spent $548 million; in 2005, Bush is asking for only $210 million.

Chad Kolton, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget, says Bush wants to shift spending to combat terrorism and drug trafficking. School safety advocates say that's shortsighted. "At a time when gang violence is rising, it's penny-wise and pound-foolish to be cutting juvenile crime prevention funding at all," says Sanford Newman, president of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a non-profit group of law enforcement officials and crime victims. Kolton says federal funding will focus more on prevention programs.

Though safety advocates applaud the approach, they say proposed cuts will be devastating. "This is a pending
crisis," says Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton. "We know it's coming, we can guarantee that it's coming."




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