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Shenandoah Valley Students Pledge to Stop Gun Violence

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The 2016 Student Pledge Against Gun Violence The 2016 Student Pledge Against Gun Violence
Fort Defiance High School Fort Defiance High School
United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia John Fishwick United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia John Fishwick
Augusta County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Douglas Shifflett Augusta County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Douglas Shifflett
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Thousands of middle and high school students in the Shenandoah Valley are taking a pledge to stop gun violence. United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia John Fishwick is traveling to schools this week to administer the oath.

Federal prosecutors visited all nine middle and high schools in Augusta County on Monday, October 24,. They expect around 13,000 students to take the pledge against gun violence by the end of the week. Fishwick is reminding students of the potentially deadly dangers of firearms, and the criminal consequences.

“My hope is that we will never see these students ever in our office. I want them to know the choices they can make to live productive lives, to be productive citizens,” he said.

Fort Defiance High School sophomore Sam Hill and senior Megan Bird are pledging to stop gun violence.

“A lot of kids, a lot of high schoolers, are under pressure so they might feel like they need to do unrational [sic] things at times,” said Hill.

“Especially around here, I feel like it's a big thing for people to have a gun at least in their home or around them. So, it's really good for us to hear about this,” Bird said.

The federal prosecutor is also urging students to speak to school principals, counselors, or resource officers before ever turning to violence.

“We're all here to help, and sometimes you think you're in it alone and you don't know how to handle a situation. But, there are other people that can help,” said Augusta County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Douglas Shifflett.

Bird says she hopes her classmates understand this pledge is worth more than just words. “Violence isn't the answer. There are other ways to solve your personal problems. You can talk to someone, like a teacher or counselor. You don't always have to solve it with violence,” she said.

This is the first time students in the Western District of Virginia have taken part in this nationwide pledge.

Fishwick will speak with students at Nelson County High School on Tuesday, and schools in Harrisonburg on Thursday.