After more than a decade since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, Sandy Hook Promise programs are saving lives – including preventing at least 16 school shootings
NEWTOWN, Conn. – December 14, 2023 will be the 11th remembrance since 20 first-graders and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. One month after the shooting that claimed these precious lives, the loved ones of several victims united to launch Sandy Hook Promise, championing gun violence prevention. Despite the decade-long efforts since the tragedy at Sandy Hook, the toll the gun violence epidemic has taken on American youth remains distressingly persistent. Gun violence is the leading cause of death for children, with 2023 seeing more than 300 incidents of gun violence on school grounds and a record number of mass shootings.
“Each day, we honor our loved ones by advocating and implementing proven solutions to create a safer future for children,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “Gun violence prevention starts with recognizing and understanding warning signs. Our research-informed Know the Signs programs have played a crucial role in saving lives, ensuring more families don’t endure the same heartbreaking loss of their loved ones.”
In four out of five school shootings, at least one other person had knowledge of the attacker’s plan but failed to report it. Sandy Hook Promise is shifting public awareness, emphasizing that “gun violence is preventable when you know the signs.” Its signature Know the Signs programs educate students on these warning signs, guiding them on when and how to tell a Trusted Adult or use an anonymous reporting system. These programs are provided at no cost to schools, with DIY options, training resources, and customizable activities. With more than 21 million participants in 26,000+ schools and organizations across the U.S., Know the Signs is making a significant impact in local communities, creating a culture of “upstanders” who speak out and build connections to help make schools safer and more welcoming for everyone.
An extension of the Know the Signs, Sandy Hook Promise’s Say Something Anonymous Reporting System is a critical resource for schools, receiving more than 214,000 anonymous tips reporting concerning behaviors witnessed by youth and adults since its creation. These tips have resulted in at least 536 confirmed youth lives saved through crisis interventions and 16 credible planned school shootings averted to date, the latest of which occurred just in November when students witnessed threats in-person and on social media, and reported them to SHP’s National Crisis Center. The impact of the Know the Signs program and Say Something Anonymous Reporting System underscores the U.S. Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security research that proves prevention of school attacks is possible when we empower people to know warning signs and take action.
Building on the landmark Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed last year, Sandy Hook Promise has continued to work across the aisle with political leaders to advance school safety and gun reform. This year, Sandy Hook Promise helped to draft the Preparing Leaders to Assess Need (PLAN) Act, a bipartisan bill, introduced in the House of Representatives to provide schools with more access to safety planning resources to implement key programs for gun violence prevention. Additionally, Sandy Hook Promise proudly supported the introduction of the GOSAFE Act and Kid PROOF Act, which both tackle major issues fueling the gun violence epidemic by limiting access to lethal weapons that will help prevent tragedy. Sandy Hook Promise continues to write and pass sensible gun safety laws that protect children in schools, homes, and communities nationwide.
“Our nation continues to see families torn apart by gun violence,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund, and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “It doesn’t have to be this way. Gun violence is preventable – which is why we continue to have tough, solution-oriented conversations with elected officials on both sides of the aisle. We must demand action so that we don’t pass this public health epidemic down to the next generation.”
More than 9.8 million people have made The Sandy Hook Promise, a pledge that symbolizes each person’s commitment to protecting children from gun violence and preventing more families from suffering because of school shootings. Each person who signs This Promise is part of the movement to honor the lives lost by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation.
** Note: No interviews or public appearance will be conducted on December 14, 2023, as Sandy Hook Promise devotes that somber day to remembering the precious lives taken by gun violence. **
Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) envisions a future where all children are free from school shootings and other acts of violence. As a national nonprofit organization, SHP’s mission is to educate and empower youth and adults to prevent violence in schools, homes, and communities. Creators of the life-saving, evidence-informed “Know the Signs” prevention programs, SHP teaches the warning signs of someone who may be in crisis, socially isolated, or at-risk of hurting themselves or others and how to get help. SHP also advances school safety, youth mental health, and responsible gun ownership at the state and federal levels through nonpartisan policy and partnerships. SHP is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646.761.5579