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Clinton To Join Students at Rally

October 19, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton and 350 high school students are meeting on Capitol Hill for a conference on violent kids, spurred by school killings and stalled gun control legislation.

One hundred-thirty members of Congress, overwhelmingly Democrats, selected up to five student delegates from their districts to attend the two-day event that begins today. Republican Reps. Jennifer Dunn of Washington, Sue Kelly of New York and Connie Morella of Maryland were the only GOP lawmakers who chose to participate, according to Laura Nichols, spokeswoman for House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo.

Asked why few Republicans were participating in the youth violence conference, John Feehery, spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert, said it was a Democratic-sponsored event and ``we didn’t get invited.″

The conference opens with a greeting from Clinton and Gephardt and a showing of ``Fight for Your Rights: Through My Eyes,″ a new MTV documentary. A series of workshops on existing programs to address youth violence follows, including interactive demonstrations of violence prevention methods.

On Wednesday, the participants will form small groups to identify the top five primary causes of and solutions to youth violence. They will present their findings to House and Senate leaders on the Capitol steps.

The conference ends with an Internet broadcast, moderated by Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder, of a town hall-style discussion with kids in Washington and participating schools around the country. Panelists will include William Moffitt, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and William Modzeleski, director of the Department of Education’s Safe and Drug Free Schools Program.

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