Students take pledge against violence

October 22, 2009 (CHICAGO) Thursday was the National Day of Concern, and thousands of young people pledged to help stop the violence that's claimed so many lives in the city.

A broadcast meant to highlight the day was only an hour long, but both organizers and participants hope the effects will be lasting.

On the 14th Day of Concern, some 200,000 Chicago students were expected to take a pledge against gun violence to help bring peace to their schools and their communities.

"One way we're gong to help those kids to make better decisions is collective peer pressure across every school," said Ron Huberman, Chicago Public Schools CEO.

Huberman shared another part of the collective plan he hopes will help stop the gun and gang violence that continues to claim young lives.

"The board of education cannot do it all, community involvement with faith based partners," said Asst. Supt. James Jackson, Chicago Police Department.

Jackson and Huberman are two of several distinguished local leaders, including juvenile justice advocates and others who took part in an hour-long radio broadcast meant to highlight the Day of Concern.

"If we can get to these kids early enough, we can keep them away from 26th and California," said Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

As some teens from both public elementary and high schools around Chicagoland took the student pledge against gun violence Thursday morning, a group of kids from St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic School did too, although some still see youth violence as a public school problem. "It's very important they know what's going on and take the pledge seriously," said Rose Evans, St. Mary of the Sea School.

The 14th year of the anti-violence campaign was hosted by B-96s J and Julian with Showbiz Shelly Morning Crew.

It comes not only as communities still react to the beating death of Fenger High School honor roll student Derrion Albert, but as police respond to yet another disturbance there Thursday afternoon: a lunchroom brawl.

"I think they should close the school down because too many people are doing what they want around here," said Fenger student Javell Brown.

While anti-violence advocate Tio Hardiman praises Thursday's National Day of Concern efforts, he says its important to remember any message is only as good as the messenger.

"enlist some of the rappers like Lil' Wayne, or Common who is from here, to speak to the guys who are actually pulling the triggers," said Hardiman, Ceasefire Illinois Director.

Chicago Police say there were five arrests made at Fenger High School Thursday afternoon following the lunchroom brawl.

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