1. If possible, give each student two copies of the Pledge. Ask the student to keep one copy and give the other to the most trusted adult in his or her life: a parent, a teacher, a minister or rabbi, an older sibling, a grandparent, a counselor. Ask students to remember that they have signed a contract and made a promise: the older adult can remind them of the importance of that promise.
2. Report the tallies! If the Pledge is distributed in individual classes (some schools ask social studies classes or guidance counselors to distribute), ask several students in each classroom to collect the Pledges and tally the numbers, without recording the names of the students. (Ask a teacher to tally the numbers if there are concerns about confidentiality.) Have several students per school tally the totals for that school. Student Council members can be a very valuable network to call on.) Ideally, school tallies will be called in to each district, and districts will report district totals to the Student Pledge Against Gun Violence. You can report directly to the web site: www.pledge.org or you can use e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), fax (507) 645-2893; phone (507) 645-5378, or mail (112 Nevada Street, Northfield, MN 55057). Reporting and watching the web site's numbers grow is an important way to reinforce for students that they have taken part in something significant.
3. Observe the day with an all-school assembly. Invite special guests: an emergency room physician, a person who has lost a loved one to gunshot or become a survivor him/herself, the police chief, a respected athlete, an elected official, or other community leader. (Some schools have Pledge signing in the assembly.) Invite local officials or members of the community to witness the signing. (One community had local students process to the town green where they recited the Pledge with townspeople looking on.) Inviting witnesses will honor participating students and give their commitments weight.
4. If a local family has lost a loved young person to gunshot, wrap your school's pledges together and present them to that family as evidence of the students' determination to prevent similar tragedies. (A school in Florida divided their pledges between two grieving families.)
5. Arrange for older students who have signed the Pledge to visit a local elementary school to discuss their commitments and read to the younger children either Sherri Chessen's The Gorp's Gift. There is an excellent teacher's manual that would provide accompanying activities. Walter Dean Myers' Newbery honor award book, Scorpions, would provide excellent classroom discussions for middleschoolers and perhaps young high school students, both before and after the Day of Concern.
6. Put a Pledge banner in the school's hallway and invite students to write notes on it. Or put up a bulletin board on which students' poems, artwork, or essays could be posted.
7. Organize a march of several blocks, with students carrying a blown-up copy of the Pledge. Taking the Pledge outside symbolically carries the students' commitments into the larger world.
8. At the end of the day, make a human chain, with students linking arms or joining hands as they say the Pledge they have signed earlier. Emphasize the fact that they arc connected to all of the other millions of other young people around the country who are making the same promise at the same time. Play the VOW Project's song, "Join Hands" available at their web site: www.ivow.org
9. Plant a tree in the school yard as a reminder of the Pledge that students have made. Give students the responsibility of caring for it. Or plant memorial daffodils that will bring new hope in spring.