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Sandy Hook Promise Honors U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan and U.S. Congressman John Upton for Prioritizing Student Safety and Mental Health

Newtown, CT — Last evening, Sandy Hook Promise (SHP)’s seventh annual Promise Champions Virtual Event recognized U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and U.S. Congressman John Upton (R-MI) for their unwavering commitment to keeping kids safe in schools, homes, and communities. Their bipartisan work has been critical in securing federal funding for evidence-based school violence and suicide prevention training for schools nationwide.

“I’m grateful to Senator Hassan and Representative Upton for putting children and communities before politics,” 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. “Only by working together on bipartisan solutions for school safety can we create effective policies to protect our kids.”

SHP honored Sen. Hassan for her efforts as the lead co-sponsor of the STANDUP Act, supporter of the STOP School Violence Act, and work on the Homeland Security and Government Affairs committees to advance evidence-based school safety policies. “There is still so much more we have to do to stop gun violence and help our children stay safe. This crisis has invaded every aspect of American life; in schools, churches, concerts, nightclubs, movie theaters, and our homes and workplaces,” said Sen. Hassan. “It is unconscionable that our kids are growing up feeling unsafe in their schools and communities. Preventing violence by helping our students with their own feelings and internal struggles continues to be something I want to work on with all of you.”

Rep. Upton was honored as a long-time champion for mental health and gun violence prevention, co-lead for the STOP School Violence Act, and supporter of the STANDUP Act. “Kids can’t learn when they’re unsafe,” said Rep. Upton. “We need to use every tool in the toolbox (to address) mental health, suicide prevention, and bullying.” 

The event was co-chaired by the Connecticut delegation: Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Representative Jahana Hayes. Each spoke about the unprecedented need for extra care and concern for the safety of our children. 

Sen. Blumenthal kicked the event off noting, “The work of Sandy Hook Promise has never been more important than during this pandemic, with the isolation, anxiety, and stress hitting our young people and children.” 

Sen. Murphy continued, “SHP has made a commitment to bringing everyone into this conversation, whether it’s on firearms laws or on interventions in schools, this is something that can [. . .] cross all political boundaries and that’s what I really love about this organization.”

Rep. Hayes reflected, “I am most heartened by the fact that (SHP’s) work doesn’t stop at just gun violence. I appreciate that you have a multi-pronged approach to get to the problem. Helping kids to understand how to recognize the signs, how to share with adults, and helping adults to know how to intervene. In my real-life as a classroom teacher, this is invaluable.” 

To date, more than 14 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.


Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national nonprofit organization with a mission to end school shootings and create a culture change that prevents violence and other harmful acts that hurt children. Through its life-saving, evidence-informed Know the Signs prevention 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. Through nonpartisan policy and partnerships, SHP advances gun safety, youth mental health, and violence prevention education at the state and federal levels that protect all children from gun violence in their schools, homes, and communities. 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.  Learn more at

Media Contact: 

Aimee Thunberg, Senior Director, Communications, Sandy Hook Promise | [email protected] | 646-761-5579