AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF)- October 16th is the Day of National Concern where students across South Carolina pledge against gun violence. This is a national program that honors the role that young people, through their own decisions, can play in reducing gun violence. This year marked the 18th anniversary of its observance.
“There are so many issues that they are dealing with between social media and bullying and violence and guns and contraband items to include narcotics and alcohol. We need to be out here as often as we can be,” says Lane Crick, First Assistant to the U.S. Attorney.
Here’s the pledge the students take:
I will never bring a gun to school;
I will never use a gun to settle a personal problem or dispute;
I will use my influence with my friends to keep them from using guns to settle disputes.
My individual choices and actions, when multiplied by those of
young people throughout the country, will make a difference.
together, by honoring this pledge we can reverse the violence
and grow up in safety.
One of those kids taking that pledge is Kayla Goldschmidt, who is currently a sophomore at Aiken Scholars Academy.
“Recently, I actually lost an old friend due to a lack of gun safety,” says Goldschmidt.
Experiencing the loss of her friend is what Goldschmidt says sparked her to start a ‘Student Demand Action’ group on her campus.
“I’m hoping that students will kind of have a chance to dive into the policy behind gun laws and start finding their political voice early on, so that later when they can vote they’ll be able to vote on the policies that they want and be educated on the different gun policies to make a change in the country,” says Goldschmidt.
And she says the school backs her in her decision to start the group.
“Any time we can get our students engrained and being a part of bettering not just our school but the community, then that’s something that we want to support,” says Martha Messick, Principal of Aiken Scholar Academy.
Goldschmidt, a high school student in the Aiken Scholar Academy, also takes college credit classes on campus at the University of South Carolina Aiken.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Lane Crick leaves a nugget of advice for the students.
“Stay out of circumstances that you can control, so that you can keep all these chapters open in your life as you go forward,” says Crick.