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Being a Trusted Adult in School

Being a student can be harder and more dangerous than it ever has been. As a result of rising school shootings and suicide rates, students need someone they can turn to for help. Sadly, at-risk students may have unstable relationships with the adults in their lives. Too many youth have been socialized not to be “snitches” and then are afraid to reach out to an adult during a crisis.

Above all, becoming a trusted adult in school can be a life-saving support for your students. If they know the signs of and have an informed grown-up to confide in, then it makes a difference for their emotional well-being and can help prevent tragedies. 

Get started on our Learning Center. 

Yabber Dyuthi and advisor Patty posing with Woohoo and #Awesome signs at the Winter institute
Student and aducator holding a SAVE Promise club selfie frame

What Makes An Adult Trustworthy?

The definition of a “Trusted Adult” is someone who students view as a reliable and caring source of support. What’s more, they listen and respond appropriately to expressed concerns, warning signs, and threats of someone who may be at risk of harming themselves or others.

Trusted adult examples include educators such as teachers, administrators, librarians and school counselors. Coupled with community members, including Promise Leaders, school support-staff, coaches, family members, and tutors, students have many options for support.

Say Something to a trusted adult collage

How does Being a Trusted Adult help?

Trusted adults are key to social-emotional learning and build the foundation for safer, kinder communities. Further, they model positive student-adult relationship skills and teach responsible decision-making. Importantly, they show empathy and express appreciation to courageous students who report warning signs.

With attention to these qualities, our experts developed a trusted adult training, in consultation with experts and students from across the country. In fact, students from our National Youth Advisory Board also created four steps for authentic interactions. 


Actively listen in a caring, engaged way.  Minimize distractions when possible.


Playback their concern to ensure understanding. Respond with empathy.

Follow up

Ask questions, gather documentation, and bring in others for support.


Comfort the student. Assure them they did the right thing and you take them Seriously.

What Do Trusted Adult Trainings Include?

Being a Trusted Adult is a supplemental training of the Say Something program. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, it’s available for free for schools and organizations across the United States.

As a participant, you’ll have access to training videos, worksheets, and activities to grow the program in your community. Soon, you’ll learn how to be supportive and get help when a student approaches you with warning signs.

  • Being a Trusted Adult: Advanced Training. This 25-minute video training is designed for educators and other school professionals seeking to learn strategies on how to be an effective trusted adult in a school or community organization that implements the Say Something program.
  • Being a Trusted Adult Workshop. This one-hour virtual live (Zoom webinar) or in-person workshop is delivered by our program experts. It’s designed for educators, school officials, and SAVE Promise Club advisors.

How to Get Started as a Trusted Adult

Register for free for the Sandy Hook Promise Learning Center. There you’ll find the full online curriculum. Still have questions? Our dedicated programs staff are also available to support you and to answer any questions. Contact us for more information.