United States Attorney Beth Drake has announced members of the United States Attorney’s Office and their local, state, and federal law enforcement partners began visiting schools across South Carolina, to meet with students and conduct presentations as a part of South Carolina’s 16th Annual Student Pledge Against Gun Violence.

With a focus on keeping their schools and communities safe, students in middle school and high school are signing 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 are making 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.

The effort is part of South Carolina’s Project CeaseFire, which is South Carolina’s implementation of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods Program, aimed at reducing gun violence. The Student Pledge Against Gun Violence is a national program that recognizes the role 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.” The program provides a means for beginning the conversation with young people about gun violence. Students from around the country will join together in pledging to do their part. Over the years, millions of students nationwide have signed the pledge.

The campaign encourages important conversation among young people about gun safety and respectful ways to resolve disputes. With more than 10,000 students from schools across the state agreeing to take part, the National Day of Concern provides an opportunity for teachers, counselors, and community leaders to connect with South Carolina students about gun violence and the importance of respect and making good decisions.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office worked with schools, student resource officers, and law enforcement agencies throughout the state to make the pledges available, providing the pledges to participating schools as well as scheduling presentations for the schools that requested speakers. For additional information concerning the pledge, visit the national Student Pledge website at www.pledge.org.