Press Release

Gillibrand: Congress Set To Approve $850,000 To Help Stop Youth Gun Violence In NYC

Dec 10, 2009

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced today that Congress is set to give final approval for $850,000 for a program to encourage New York City students to report weapon-related threats in their schools and communities. Senator Gillibrand aggressively lobbied members of the Appropriations Committee to include funding for the project in this year’s spending bill.

“I have met with students, parents, educators and community leaders who have been affected by the tragedy of gun violence, and it’s clear that students need a better way to report violence and potential threats,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This federal investment will help give PAX/Real Solutions the resources it needs to empower more students to report threats of violence in their schools and communities – helping us prevent tragedies and combat gang violence. I pledge to always be a voice for our young people, and work to make sure they are safe and have every opportunity to succeed.”

PAX/Real Solutions is a New York-based non-profit organization that works to bring new, effective solutions to combat youth gun violence. PAX will use the $850,000 federal investment to strengthen its national “SPEAK UP Campaign” – an effort to encourage more students to report weapon-related threats in their schools and communities. The investment will increase access to the SPEAK UP hotline and awareness campaign.

A 2002 report from the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education revealed that in 81 percent of school shootings, the attackers told other students about their plans beforehand. Further studies show that when weapons are confiscated in schools, 92 percent of the time the tip comes from another student. PAX also reports that the majority of young people are willing to report threats of weapon-related violence if given the appropriate tools.

With these federal dollars, the PAX SPEAK Up Campaign will empower more students with the resources they need to anonymously report threats of violence in their schools and communities, and prevent tragedies.

The House and Senate have each passed their version of the appropriations bill, and today Senator Gillibrand announced that the funding was included in the final, combined version.