01:52 AM ET 04/30/99Students Make Pledge in Colo School Students Make Pledge
By KARIN MILLER = Associated Press Writer = NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)
The day after 15 people were gunned down at a Colorado school, Hillsboro
School junior Rebecca Hunter had an idea. It didn't have anything to do with dress codes or police in the hallways or metal detectors at the doors. She and
her classmates in an American Studies course instead came up with a pledge to no
longer taunt those who dress, talk or act differently. Students and teachers are spreading copies of the pledge throughout the country via computer. The idea
has intrigued teachers as far away as California. The pledge was signed by 850 students in one day at Green Mountain High School in Jefferson County, Colo., the same county where Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, killed 12
students, a teacher and themselves on April 20. By Thursday, more than 1,100 of the school's 1,500 students had signed the pledge, Green Mountain geography
and sociology teacher Heather Beck said. "It's a real positive thing the kids can do," she said. "They realize they're in control of their own behavior
and they have something to stand behind and say, `You signed your pledge card,
why are you talking like that?" Ms. Hunter said students were thrilled with the interest. "We thought it'd be good just to encourage people to be nice and not make others feel like outcasts, because (Harris and Klebold) apparently felt like everybody was against them," she said. She doesn't think the pledge cards can eliminate cliques, just "encourage common courtesy." Hillsboro High, a public school in an upscale area, has a diverse student body "with a reasonable degree of harmony," principal Jean Litterer said. A uniformed police officer patrols the hallways and three bomb threats were called in last year. But most students consider their school
safe. As for the pledge, junior Doug Conway said he won't sign because "I just don't think I can do it. I'm not a mean guy and I respect the idea behind
it, but if you sign it you should follow through." Lee Griggs, another junior, said he didn't sign because he doesn't need to be reminded to be nice.
But senior Jonathan Terry vowed to take the pledge's values "to heart and do what's right."
And the covering letter and the pledge... from http://18.104.22.168/high/gmhs/iwill.htm
April 29, 1999
Green Mountain High School has started an "I Will" campaign to actively support non-violence in our schools and bring awareness to individuals about how they are treating one another. Our goal is to have this be a nationwide campaign, by starting with signatures of every student in Jefferson County including high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools. Students are collecting signatures from their classmates on an "I Will" banner for the memorial, handing out pledge cards, and keeping a tally of students involved.
The students of Ms. Beck's Sociology classes have contacted organizations to donate supplies such as Sir Speedy, which is currently donating thousands of pledge cards. Corporate headquarters for Sir Speedy has made the "I Will" pledge card available on their web page for any store to download and print.
If you are interested in doing this at your school, the pledge is attached. Students from GMHS are available to present the "I Will" campaign at your school.
Ms. Heather Beck
13175 West Green Mountain Drive
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
"I Will" Pledge-
As part of my community and the Jefferson County School District, I WILL...
I will pledge to be part of the solution.
I will eliminate taunting from my own behavior.
I will encourage others to do the same.
I will do my part to make my community a safe place by being more sensitive to others.
I will set the example of a caring individual. I will eliminate profanity towards others from my language. I will not let my words or actions hurt others. ...and if others won't become part of the solution, I WILL.
There may be hope for the US after all... certainly these kids have a better understanding of cause and effect than their parents. Their solution, is innovative and "interesting" and will do a lot of good in that it raises the awareness of what seems to me to have been the primary cause of Littleton. There is just one small drawback to their solution, which is inherent in this kind of response, and was highlighted by "sociology teacher Heather Beck" who suggests using it as a weapon rather than a reminder... Can you imagine the pressure that it places on kids to conform and sign it? Of course if it ultimately leads to kids who see bigotry in action this is good. I think I can safely say that she is an example of what is wrong in American society and schools today. Well meaning control freaks... who will likely turn this effort from something innovative into just another school program.
Hermit <Deciding that the kidz are much more sensible than their parents>
PS /me saw the taunting reference and was immediately reminded of the wonderful scene in Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail.
French Knight: You don't frighten us, English pigdogs! Go and burn your
bottoms, sons of a silly person! I blow my nose at your so-called Arthur
King! You and all your silly English keniggets! Thppppt!
Sir Galahad: What a strange person.
King Arthur: Now look here, my good man... French Knight: I don't wanna talk to you no more, you empty- headed animal food trough whopper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries! Sir Galahad: Is there someone else up there we could talk to? French Knight: No! Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time, uh!