A high school student pledged in writing Wednesday not to bring weapons to school, becoming the first to sign a contract that a national principals' group hopes will help stem violence in America's schools.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals mailed to every middle and high schools copies of the contract, which provides "specific, practical actions" to combat gun use.
The contract asks students, parents and principals to pledge that they will try to do something to control weapons in school.
"I think it's going to bring back a consciousness about the importance of people knowing the serious impact that violence and guns can have on the education of young people," said Ballou Senior High principal Richard Washington.
One of his students, Victor Armstead, was the first to sign. "I'm tired of hearing about violence," he said. "I want to eliminate it point blank."
More than one in 10 teachers and one in four students report they were victims of violence in or around school, according to a 1993 survey. Thirteen percent of students said they brought a weapon to school at least once.
We the undersigned agree to the following commitments:
I agree not to bring a gun or any weapon to school or to any school event.
I will tell my peers to seek adult assistance when conflict situations begin to get out of control.
I will not carry another person's gun or weapon.
If I see a gun or other weapon on campus or at a school event, I will alert an adult about its existence.
PARENT OR GUARDIAN:
I will teach, including by personal example, my teenagers about the dangers and consequences of guns and weapons use, and I will keep any guns and all weapons I own under lock and away from my children.
I will support the school's policies to eliminate guns and weapons and work with the school in developing programs to prevent violence.
I will carry out my responsibility to teach my children how to settle arguments without resorting to violence, to encourage him-her to use those ideas when necessary, and to follow school guidelines for reporting guns and weapons they see.
I will ensure that students have an anonymous way to report to an adult any guns or other weapons they see on campus.
I will promote conflict resolution instruction for all students as part of the curriculum.
I will communicate the school's policies on guns and weapons to all participants in the school community and focus upon the responsibilities we all have.
I will use the school's student leadership groups and student meetings to obtain ideas to develop a safe school environment.
I will report all guns and other weapons violations to law enforcement officials, according to established procedures.