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Clinton Leads Prayers For High School Victims

By Laurence McQuillan

                    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A solemn President Clinton led
		     prayers Wednesday for the victims of the ``horror and
		     agony'' of the massacre at a Colorado high school and
		     urged Americans to consider what they might do to avoid
		     future tragedies.

                     ``I think it is important that we remember that we must
		     come together and pray together but also commit to act 
		     together,'' Clinton said at the White House about the
		     bloody rampage Tuesday by two teenage gunmen.

Authorities said 15 people were killed at Columbine High School in Littleton,
Colorado -- including the two gunmen, who took their own lives. At least 20
others were critically injured.

Clinton led a moment of silent prayer for ``those who lost their lives, for
those who were wounded, for their families and those who love them and care
for their community.''

``We see in a moment of agony what is best in our community and in our
country,'' Clinton said, noting the work of police and medical teams that
responded -- as well as students and teachers who risked their lives to
help others.

``I have been particularly struck by the story of Mrs. Miller, the teacher
who heard the gunfire and led dozens of students to safety in the choir
room, who worked to keep them calm and quiet for hours.''

Students said afterward that when shots started ringing out they ran
blindly down the hall in panic. The teacher got them under control and
directed them to the choir room to hide while the assailants roamed free.

``What she did was awesome,'' said Jake Cram, 18, one of the students
she rescued. ``She is a hero.''

Clinton noted that while ``all of us are struggling to understand exactly
what happened and why,'' it is important to ''focus on what we are going
to do.''

``Perhaps the most important thing all of us can do right now is to reach
out to each other and to families and children,'' Clinton said.

``It is very important to explain to children all over America what has
happened and to reassure our own children that they are safe,'' he said.

``We also have to take this moment, once again, to hammer home to all the
children of America that violence is wrong,'' he said.

``Parents should take this moment to ask what else they can do to shield
our children from violent images and experiences that warp young perceptions
and obscure the consequences of violence, to show our children, by the power
of our own example, how to resolve conflicts peacefully,'' he said.

White House officials said that a review was under way to determine if any
federal action was necessary to deal with the issue of school safety.

``There are a variety of things pending, we have some ideas about a
juvenile justice bill, but I think we really at this point have not yet
focused in on the policy implications,'' said White House Press Secretary
Joe Lockhart.

``I think from the position of the federal government, we would acknowledge
that there are limits to what we can do, but there certainly should be no
limits on how much we try to do,'' Lockhart said.

Clinton made his remarks before a gathering of White House volunteers.

He had been scheduled to spend the day in Texas to dedicate an airport
terminal and raise money for the Democratic National Committee. The trip
was canceled because of the shooting.

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