Over 450 Schools Expected To Participate In Student Pledge Against Gun Violence Day
United States Attorney Kenneth Polite announced that on Wednesday, October 15, 2014, members of the U. S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana (the “Office”) and their law enforcement partners will meet with students across Southeast Louisiana as part of his Office’s first district-wide Student Pledge Against Gun Violence Day.
Middle and high school students will sign a voluntary pledge promising that they will never take a gun to school, will never resolve a dispute with a gun, and will use their influence to prevent friends from using guns to resolve disputes. Elementary school children will make a simpler commitment, pledging that if they see a gun they will not touch it, they will assume that any gun they see might be loaded, and they will tell a teacher or a trusted adult.
In coordination with the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program, the Student Pledge Against Gun Violence is a national program that recognizes the role that young people, through their own decisions, can play in reducing gun violence. This campaign against youth gun violence culminates each October in a Day of National Concern about Young People and Gun Violence. Students from around the country will join together in pledging to do their part to end gun violence. Over 10 million students nationwide have signed the pledge since its inception in 1996.
U.S. Attorney Polite stated that his Office began using the pledge during the 2013-14 school year, with approximately 2500 students signing the pledge at seven schools. Because of the outstanding response from school leaders and students, the Office decided to expand the initiative district-wide to include all schools in all 13 parishes, including Assumption, Jefferson, Lafourche, Plaquemines, Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, and Washington. "Our Office is pleased to take this opportunity to reach out to students, engage in a dialogue about gun violence and the importance of making right choices, and encourage them to become peacemakers of our time," stated U.S. Attorney Polite.
In addition to providing the pledges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will coordinate with other state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies to provide speakers at several schools to talk to students about what they can do to reduce gun violence in their communities.