Sandy Hook Promise Commends House of Representatives for Strengthening Investment in Safer Schools

Today, the House of Representatives voted on a Fiscal Year 2021 spending package that included increased funding for evidence-based school safety programs to $87 million under the STOP School Violence Act.  

Sandy Hook Promise applauds Charlie Crist (D-FL), John Rutherford (R-FL), Hal Rogers (R-KY), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) for leading the effort to prevent school shootings, violence, and youth suicide in our nation and issued the following statement:  

“Violence and suicide are proven to be preventable when we teach students and adults to ‘know the signs’ and reach out when they see someone hurting or need help themselves. This critical funding will save lives. We applaud the continued bipartisan commitment of Representatives Crist and Rutherford, and this committee to improve school safety through prevention and early intervention to protect kids from tragedy,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and the father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. 

“No parent should have to worry about their child’s safety at school,” said Rep. Charlie Crist. “Congress has a responsibility to do everything in its power to provide schools with the tools and resources necessary to create safe heavens, where students, teachers, and faculty feel secure and protected. I am proud to support legislation and funding that protects our communities and our children from gun violence.” 

“Each year, the federal funding distributed through the STOP School Violence Act is making a meaningful difference in how schools keep their students safe,” said Rep. John Rutherford. “As school districts across the country face the uncertainty of the coming school year, these funds will provide schools with resources to address students’ mental health, wellness, and safety. Thank you to Sandy Hook Promise for their partnership on the STOP School Violence Act and commitment to keeping students safe.”  

“We know that we can prevent violence in our schools before it is too late,” said Rep. Ted Deutch. “I am so inspired by the work of Mark Barden, Nicole Hockley, and the entire Sandy Hook Promise team. They have turned their unimaginable pain into purpose. They have developed evidence-based programs that are already saving lives. By funding STOP School Violence programs in communities across the country we can help young people who are struggling before it is too late. Even now, as many students are struggling with social isolation and other challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, STOP School Violence funding can help build connections that will improve the health and wellbeing of students before and after they return to school.” 

The FY 2021 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that passed the House of Representatives increases the Department of Justice’s STOP School Violence Act funding from $125 million to $140 million for school violence prevention grants to states, local governments, and Tribes for the purposes of training students and school personnel to identify signs of violence and intervene early to prevent people from hurting themselves or others. The funding can also be used for evidence-based suicide prevention training and anti-bullying programming. 

The STOP School Violence Act was introduced in the House of Representatives before the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to build off of the research and lessons learned from Sandy Hook and other tragic shootings and scale proven, evidence-based early intervention programming to schools across the country to prevent future school shootings, suicides, and other forms of school violence. It was passed as part of the FY2018 omnibus funding bill. Sandy Hook Promise proudly worked with Republicans and Democrats to pass the STOP School Violence Act of 2018 that will train millions more students and adults to “know the signs” of gun violence and how to act to prevent it. 

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. Make the Promise at www.sandyhookpromise.org

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Media Contact:  

Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 203.304.9780, x177