Newtown, CT – Sandy Hook Promise applauds yesterday’s introduction of the Safety and Violence Education for Students (SAVE Students) Act (HB 2873) in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. This new legislation is aimed at combating the crisis of social isolation, violence, bullying, and suicide that is devastating our nation’s students. If passed, this bill would set a new standard for statewide school safety programming.
In response to the introduction of this legislation, Sandy Hook Promise released the following statement: “We know school violence is preventable when we teach youth and adults to ‘know the signs’ of violence and suicide and get help to stop a tragedy before it happens,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, and father of Daniel who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. “This legislation would protect all Pennsylvania’s students and create a national model for prevention that empowers our youth to help save lives.”
The SAVE Students Act was introduced by Rep. Karen Boback (R-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Wyoming) and 11 bi-partisan co-sponsors. The legislation would require that all Pennsylvania students, grades 6th – 12th, have access to evidence-based programming that teaches how to combat social isolation and build inclusive community, identify the signs and signals of interpersonal violence and suicide, and how to reach out for help.
“As a former educator, I understand the importance of ensuring students and teachers have access to high-quality resources they can readily integrate into the everyday learning experience,” said Rep. Boback. “House Bill 2873 ensures all Pennsylvania students are able to learn and grow in environments that are inclusive, supportive, and free of violence.”
Training students to be “upstanders” in prevention rather than bystanders to violence has a positive ripple effect throughout the community beyond school grounds. “Teaching kids what the warning signs of violence are and how to speak up to get help are crucial skills — not just in school but in life. This is how we can begin to make our communities safer, reduce gun violence, and reverse the alarming trends of youth suicide we’re seeing in our state,” said the former mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter. “I urge the House to pass this life-saving legislation.”
To date, more than 12 million people nationwide have participated in Sandy Hook Promise’s proven Know the Signs programs that focus on prevention to help end the epidemic of gun violence by training youth and adults how to identify at-risk behavior and intervene to get help before a tragedy can occur. Through these no-cost programs, Sandy Hook Promise has averted countless school shooting plots, teen suicides, and other acts of violence.
About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. 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. SHP’s mission is to end school shootings and create a culture change that prevents violence. Through its proven Know the Signs programs, SHP educates and empowers youth and adults to recognize, intervene, and get help for individuals who may be socially isolated and/or at risk of hurting themselves or others. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible program and policy solutions that address the “human side” of gun violence by preventing individuals from ever getting to the point of picking up a firearm to hurt themselves or others. Our words, actions, and impact nationwide are intended to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation. Make the Promise at www.sandyhookpromise.org.
Aimee Thunberg, Communications Director, Sandy Hook Promise [email protected] | 646-761-5579