Newtown, CT – The Ohio State Senate took a major leap forward yesterday by unanimously passing the Safety and Violence Education for Students (SAVE Students) Act. House Bill 123 will help combat the crisis of youth suicide, violence, and bullying by ensuring all of Ohio’s middle and high school students are trained to “know the signs” to prevent violence and save lives.
In response to the bipartisan passage of this legislation, Sandy Hook Promise released the following statement:
“When Sandy Hook Promise started in 2014, Ohio was the first state to embrace our programmatic approach to school safety,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “And now, by passing this landmark legislation, Ohio is setting a new national standard in requiring life-saving training for all middle and high school students to empower them to help prevent violence and suicide. We are very grateful to the Ohio State Senate, Ohio Senate Education Committee Chair Peggy Lehner, and Ohio Rep. Gayle Manning for championing and passing this important piece of legislation.”
The SAVE Students Act requires that all middle and high school students in Ohio have access to evidence-based programming that teaches how to combat social isolation, build inclusive community, identify the signs of interpersonal violence and suicide, and how to reach out for help. This programming can be delivered virtually or through in-person training at no cost to the schools.
“As a retired teacher and a state representative, I want to do everything I can to ensure that our children across this state are in a safe environment when they go to their school every day throughout the academic year,” said Rep. Manning, the legislation’s sponsor. “I am pleased to see this move forward as this bill takes several steps to make sure school safety is a priority within our education system throughout Ohio.”
“This bill is important now more than ever with the additional pressures children are now under with the coronavirus,” said Sen. Lehner, who chairs the Senate’s Education Committee. “The hope is that Ohio schools will now be more prepared to help students with many different issues that have only been emphasized by our current crisis.”
“I am pleased to see the SAVE Students Act pass, and hopefully we can get this to the governor’s desk very soon,” said Sen. Blessing. “In the midst of a pandemic, we cannot forget about school safety and its importance in preparing our next generation of American leaders.“
The Ohio House of Representatives voted in favor of an earlier version of the SAVE Students Act in October 2019. Once the House has concurred with the Senate’s version of the bill, the legislation will head to Governor DeWine’s desk for signature, making Ohio the first state to establish requirements for these kinds of life-saving training and setting a new national precedent.
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 create a culture engaged in preventing shootings, violence, and other harmful acts in schools. 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.
Contact: Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646.761.5579