[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[June 13, 1998]
[Pages 959-960]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks on Departure for Springfield, Oregon, and an Exchange With 
Reporters in Portland
June 13, 1998

    The President. Good afternoon. Several days ago, Senator 
Wyden got in touch with me and told me that the 
principal and the superintendent of 
Springfield would like for me to come down and 
visit with the people there while I am in Oregon. And I'm going because 
I want to listen; I want to learn; I want to be of whatever support I 
can. I also want to highlight the importance to all Americans of trying 
to prevent tragedies like this.
    I have today instructed the Secretary of Education and the Attorney 
General to prepare a guide for teachers, educators, parents, and others, 
that basically goes through the early warning signals that so many young 
people who are likely to take very violent destructive action often 
give, in the hope that it will help the schools and the families, and 
even other students to pick up such signals so that we can prevent these 
things in the future. So, for both those reasons, I'm going down, and 
I'm looking forward to it. And I'd like to thank the Senators and the two Representatives for going 
with me. I'm very much looking forward to it.
    Q. Mr. President, what will you tell the families or the victims in 
Springfield this afternoon?
    The President. Well, I'll--first of all, I want to listen to them 
and not tell them too much. But I--what I will tell them is that I hope 
that one way they can honor their children is to work with us to try to 
create a country and a set of circumstances which makes it far less 
likely that these things will be repeated. And I would think that any 
parent would want to do that.

[[Page 960]]

    Q. How much help do you think this guide will be, sir?
    The President. Well, I think it might be quite a bit. One of the 
things that, frankly, I must say, I was not aware of until I started 
studying the facts more closely, is that if you look at the Jonesboro 
case, the Kentucky case, the Mississippi case, the Pennsylvania case, 
some other cases where there were shootings but not killings, as well as 
the one here, in quite a number of the cases, there was some behavior on 
the part of the young people involved which indicated that they were--
they might do something very out of the ordinary. Now, if you're not--if 
you can't--first of all, these kinds of things are almost unimaginable. 
So, unless you have some way of knowing that what kind of behavior 
should set off the biggest warning signal in your mind, and you have 
something constructive to do about it, you know, where you can take 
these children and what you can do. Normally, what happens is people are 
just disturbed, and then they go on with their lives until something 
terrible happens. So, I really believe there's a chance, if we can get 
this guide up, if we can get it widely discussed in our schools and 
people can talk about it not in a paranoid or negative way but just in a 
open way, that there's a good chance it will really do some good.
    Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 12:24 p.m. at Portland International 
Airport. In his remarks, he referred to Larry Bentz, principal, Thurston 
High School, and Jamon Kent, superintendent, Springfield Public Schools. 
A tape was not available for verification of the content of these