Columbia, South Carolina —- United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy, Jr. announced today that the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) is asking community members, parents, and educators of South Carolina students to participate in South Carolina’s 19th Annual Student Pledge Against Gun Violence. The year’s Pledge runs from October 26 through October 30.
In light of the current COVID pandemic preventing the USAO from providing speakers to engage in dialogues with students about the need for them to stand up against violence in their schools, the USAO is asking parents, community members, and schools to have a dialogue with children to make sure they know the steps to keep themselves and others safe. Sample pledges are attached to provide talking points for this dialogue depending upon the age of the child. With a focus on keeping schools and communities safe, students in middle school and high school are asked to pledge 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 asked to pledge that if they see a gun they will not touch it, they will tell a teacher or a trusted adult, and they will assume that any gun they see might be loaded.
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. The program provides a means for beginning the conversation with young people about gun violence and encourages important conversation among students about gun safety and respectful ways to resolve disputes. For additional information concerning the pledge and other resources, visit the national Student Pledge website at www.pledge.org.
Additionally, parents are reminded that many local law enforcement agencies have access to free gunlocks available to community members. These are provided to law enforcement, upon their request, by Project ChildSafe. Project ChildSafe is a nationwide program whose purpose is to promote safe firearms handling and storage practices among all firearms owners through the distribution of key safety education messages and free gun locking devices. For additional resources and information concerning gun safety, please visit https://projectchildsafe.org
This effort is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. More information about PSN is available at https://www.justice.gov/psn.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.