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Remarks by President Bush to the Travel Pool

Contact: White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 202-456-2580


STOCKTON, Calif., Oct. 3 /Standard Newswire/ -- The following text is of remarks by President Bush to the Travel Pool:


George W. Bush Elementary School

Stockton, California


10:28 A.M. PDT


THE PRESIDENT:  I want to thank Sylvia Ulmer, the principal of George W. Bush Elementary School, for welcoming me.  It's such an honor, Sylvia -- and Jack, thank you, sir -- it's such an honor to have a school named after me.  When I pulled in the parking lot and I saw George W. Bush Elementary, I couldn't think of a higher tribute to a person and I thank you all and the citizens of this community for this honor and tribute.  Frankly, I was a little emotional when I pulled in --


MS. ULMER:  So am I.  So am I.


THE PRESIDENT:  I want to thank the teachers and the faculty here.  I can't wait to tell Laura that I went into the Laura Bush Library and saw teachers working hard to teach kids how to read.  It's just a blessing to be there.


You know, being at this school reminds us we have a special responsibility to protect our children.  The most important jobs of those involved with schools and government is to make sure that children are safe.  And Laura and I were saddened and deeply concerned, like a lot of other citizens around the country, about the school shootings that took place in Pennsylvania and Colorado and Wisconsin.  We grieve with the parents and we share the concerns of those who worry about safety in schools.


Yesterday, I instructed Attorney General Gonzales and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to convene a meeting next Tuesday, a meeting of leading experts and stakeholders to determine how best the federal government can help states and local governments improve school safety.  Our schoolchildren should never fear their safety when then enter to a classroom.  And, of course, the superintendent and principal know that.


We also had a reminder of the need for people in positions of responsibility to uphold that responsibility when it comes to children, in the case of Congressman Mark Foley.  I was dismayed and shocked to learn about Congressman Foley's unacceptable behavior.  I was disgusted by the revelations and disappointed that he would violate the trust of the citizens who placed him in office.


Families have every right to expect that when they send their children to be a congressional page in Washington, that those children will be safe.  We have every right as citizens to expect people who hold high office behave responsibly in that office.  I fully support Speaker Hastert's call for an investigation by law enforcement into this matter.  This investigation should be thorough and any violations of law should be prosecuted.


Now, I know Denny Hastert, I meet with him a lot.  He is a father, teacher, coach, who cares about the children of this country.  I know that he wants all the facts to come out and he wants to ensure that these children up there on Capitol Hill are protected.  I'm confident he will provide whatever leadership he can to law enforcement in this investigation.


Again, I want to thank you for your hospitality.  It's an honor to be here.  Appreciate your time.  God bless.  Thank you.


END                     10:33 A.M. PDT