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AG Healey’s Office, Sandy Hook Promise Receive $1 Million Grant To Expand Violence Prevention Education, Train Nearly 140,000 Students Across Massachusetts


October 5, 2018 

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BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey and Mark Barden of Sandy Hook Promise, a national non-profit organization founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, announced today that the AG’s Office will receive $1 million to expand school-based violence prevention and suicide training and mental health training to nearly 140,000 students across Massachusetts.

“With Sandy Hook Promise, our office applied for this grant to help students learn and grow in environments without violence,” said AG Healey. “We now have $1 million dollars to invest in mental health training, suicide prevention, and school-based violence prevention programs, and to keep our students safe.”

“We at Sandy Hook Promise are honored to work with Attorney General Maura Healey and her team to expand the reach of our programs in Massachusetts. Through the STOP School Violence Act, we will be able to train over 139,000 students across the state on how to be an “upstander” in their school and community, as well as how to create a culture of inclusiveness. We know that prevention programs, such as our Start With Hello, Say Something, and SOS Signs of Suicide, can help prevent violence before it occurs and we are proud to roll these programs out to students statewide,” said Mark Barden, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sandy Hook Promise and father of Daniel who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

The AG’s Office was awarded this funding through the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance’s School Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training Program, which is providing funding to implement training and education on preventing violence and effectively responding to related mental health crises.

The mission of Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is to provide programs and practices that protect children and prevent the senseless, tragic loss of life. Over the past five years, SHP has trained over 3.5 million adults and students across the country and is deeply committed to preventing violence in schools. SHP is already working in Massachusetts to train students in evidence-based violence prevention programs.

This grant funding will allow the AG’s Office and SHP to significantly increase the number of students and educators trained in evidence-based programs. The goal is to prevent school violence by focusing on training students and educators to identify the warning signs of violence and take action before a tragedy occurs.

The AG’s Office and SHP will collaborate to train educators and students over the course of three years in the three Know the Signs programs that will teach youth and adults how to identify, assess, and intervene before a young person hurts themselves or others.

  1. Signs of Suicideis a universal, school-based prevention program for middle school and high school students, which uses a train-the-trainer model for personnel and students to identify the warning signs and symptoms of depression, suicide and self-injury and take action when needed.
  2. Say Somethingis a violence prevention and education program, with a focus on social media, that teaches students in grades 6-12 how to recognize warning signs and signals of individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others, and to “say something” to a trusted adult before the person hurts themselves or others.
  3. Start With Hellois a violence prevention program for students in grades 5-12 that teaches students how to be more inclusive and connected to one another.

The AG’s Office currently leads two school-based prevention education initiatives. In 2015, the AG’s Office partnered with the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation to launch Game Change, which provides training to middle and high school students and faculty on healthy relationships and bystander intervention to prevent domestic and dating violence. In 2017, the AG’s Office and the GE Foundation launched Project Here, an initiative that is making substance use prevention education available to all public middle schools in Massachusetts.