Feds Start School Safety Listening Tour

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While last week's Virginia Tech murders are still in the headlines, the administration this week plans to begin a listening tour of major campuses and educational facilities to look into school safety and mental health issues and to tell state and local officials that the feds have a lot of resources they can tap. "This isn't just a four-year-college issue," says an administration official. "It also impacts K-12 and two-year colleges so every educational facility has to be included." The plan to hold education safety roundtables around the country could be announced as soon as Wednesday. President Bush last week announced plans to have three Cabinet officials—Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt—form his school safety task force. Officials said that tour dates are already being scheduled and one is set for New Mexico on Friday. There, Gov. Bill Richardson has already set up his own school safety task force, as has Virginia's governor, Tim Kaine. While the planned roundtables are the major effort by the administration to address the Virginia Tech shootings, administration officials say that the White House is also looking at forming a broader task force that would include key educators, doctors, and college administrators.