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Upstanders Help Stop Three School Shooting Plots

Using the Say Something app to submit a tip

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The Sandy Hook Promise National Crisis Center works 24/7/365 to help student and community Upstanders avert potential violence. Recently, students from three school districts recognized the warning signs of violence in their school community and reported their concerns to the Crisis Center. The students used the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System (SS-ARS), that lets students anonymously report threats or concerning behaviors. They do so through an app, hotline, or website when they see a classmate who may be at risk of harming themselves or others.

The third of these incidents marks Sandy Hook Promise’s 14th averted school shooting since the inception of the Crisis Center in 2019.

A Patter of Warning Signs

In the first case*, the Crisis Center counselors were familiar with the student in crisis. The student had been reported for bullying by more than 12 students while he was in elementary school. At that time, the Crisis Center worked with the school to provide school-level support for the student and the students who reported the bullying.

Unfortunately, more recently, the student began to make threats of killing others, and then, himself. The SS-ARS tipsters reported that a classmate was sending images of weapons and plans of violence to his peers. Officials from the school, district, and a dispatch team made a welfare check on the student. A home and computer search retrieved weapons, so authorities determined the threats credible. Authorities determined that the student was a danger to himself. He was transported to a hospital for a mental health evaluation. Later, the student was taken into custody and charged with a felony.

Upstander students displayed outstanding bravery and genuine concern: they recognized the warning signs, took the threats seriously, and reported them. Simply, the students potentially saved countless lives — because they cared deeply for the safety and survival of their school community.

A Campus Avoids Near Crisis

More recently, a tipster reported to the National Crisis Center that a student had a gun on campus and bragged to his peers about their access to weapons. On the day of the report, the student was absent from school, causing additional concern.

Local police had already been monitoring the student for previous threats. However, there had not been enough information to allow a welfare check and search the student’s home. The tip provided to the Crisis Center gave the authorities the final piece needed. The search turned up several weapons in the student’s possession, as well as uncovering a plan to bring the gun back on campus to cause violence.

Potential Tragedy Averted After Intervention

In what was the National Crisis Center’s 14th averted school shooting, multiple tips came in about a student’s violent plan. The Crisis Team worked with district officials and authorities to learn that the threat indicated that the student intended to do harm at the elementary, middle, and high schools.

The Say Something anonymous tip led to the district shutting down all schools for the day for further investigation. Later, an arrest was made as the threat was determined to be credible. The student had access to a weapon and a plan.

Once again, a school community acting on concern collaborated with Trusted Adults and made a life-saving difference.

To date, SS-ARS has responded to more than 171,000 tips and saved more than 400 lives (February 2023). The National Crisis Center and SS-ARS are proven approaches that prevent school shootings and violence. Lives are saved when students and community members know the warning signs, speak up, and get help.

How to Take Action

If these students hadn’t spoken up about the threats to their school communities, we could be hearing about yet another tragedy on the news. In partnership with Trusted Adults, the Say Something program and its companion anonymous reporting system empowers youth as Upstanders.

Find out how you can bring the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System to your school.

*Due to privacy restrictions, sensitivity, and ongoing investigations with the districts, reporting on these events has been strictly anonymized.