"We either have discipline in the classroom or we have disorder and, quite often, danger," Mr. Clinton said in an address to the national convention of the American Federation of Teachers.
The president also announced he would lead a White House summit on school safety Oct. 15, which he will proclaim "national school safety day." Coming just three weeks before Election Day, the conference will put a focus on an issue Democrats see as a winner among voters.
The conference will include educators, law enforcement officials and families touched by school violence, including those from communities hit by recent fatal shootings by students.
"Teachers can't teach if they have to fight for respect or fear for their safety," the president said.
Later Monday, Mr. Clinton attended a pricey luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel, Reporter Karen Swensen of CBS affiliate WWL-TV in New Orleans reports. The $1,000-a-plate fundraiser is for Congressman William Jefferson, who is so far running unopposed.
"The fact of the matter is, I have a fundraiser every summer, and it just happens this time my honored guest is the president," Jefferson said.
Before returning to Washington the president was to headline a Democratic National Committee fund-raising dinner which, at $10,000 per person, was expected to collect about $200,000, DNC officials said.
"One way to scare away opponents is to have a lot of money in the bank, and if Clinton is willing to do this for himÂ….There's no better way to raise money than to have the president of the United States head your fundraiser." said Ed Renwick, a political analyst.
That's why the president will dine at Emeril's with the Democratic National Committee. Senator Breaux hopes the party's powers that be will choose New Orleans for the next convention.
"I mean, it should be here," Breaux said. "It's been here in the past. The Republican is an example it was a wonderful convention. You could do both - Republicans and Democrats back to back."
Mr. Clinton will spend a whirlwind 24 hours in New Orleans, with several speaking engagements, but a lot of down time. The president has been moving ahead with his agenda despite the escalating investigation by Kenneth Starr. The independent counsel is pushing ahead quickly, now that the Chief Justice has ruled he can force the testimony of Secret Service agents.
Reported by Karen Swensen