Michigan tragedy underscores the importance of Sandy Hook Promise’s “Know the Signs” school violence prevention programs
Newtown, CT – December 14, 2021 marks nine years since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This year’s Remembrance Day comes just two weeks after the horrific murders of four students in a mass shooting at Oxford High School, in Michigan.
“Our hearts go out to the Oxford High School community — especially the families and friends of the victims,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “I know firsthand the unspeakable pain they’re experiencing and must live with for the rest of their lives.”
Hockley and the other co-founders of Sandy Hook Promise have dedicated their lives to stopping school shootings. According to an analysis of every major school shooting by the U.S. Secret Service, in almost every case, students observed warning signs before an act of violence took place. In the Oxford High School shooting, it has been widely reported that warning signs were witnessed and shared with the school’s administration, in addition to a report to child protective services by another concerned adult, before the shooting.
The Oxford High School tragedy is further proof that recognizing such signs, taking them seriously, and acting immediately are essential to prevention. Sandy Hook Promise’s “Know the Signs” programs teach what these warning signs are and when and how to tell a trusted adult. All are available at no-cost to schools, align with SEL curriculum requirements, and can be delivered in a single class period.
“Like our own children, the children at Oxford High School were killed because nobody took action on the warning signs to stop the shooter,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and CEO of the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “When schools implement programs to know what to look for and report the signs and schools have reporting processes in place, we’re able to save lives.”
Just last week, a high school in Indiana was able to prevent a shooting through Sandy Hook Promise’s Say Something Anonymous Reporting System. To date, students and educators have anonymously reported more than 82,000 tips, resulting in more than 2,700 mental health interventions saving at least 257 students from suicide. As a result of these programs, more than 60 acts of violence with a weapon have been prevented, including six planned school shootings.
“If we take action, we can save countless lives,” said Barden. “School shootings are preventable when you know the signs and say something to a trusted adult. We must empower our children to help protect schools and communities. I urge students, parents, educators and everyone to promise to be part of the solution to preventing violence. Be an upstander, not a bystander.”
Nearly seven million people have made The Sandy Hook Promise — a pledge to honor the lives taken in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy by catalyzing a moment of transformation. It is a promise to choose love and hope instead of anger and fear.
“Our hearts are broken; our spirit is not,” said Hockley. “Those are the first words of our promise because they convey both our pain and commitment. We choose positive action and we ask you to join us because together we can end school shootings.”
About Sandy Hook Promise
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.
Aimee Thunberg, Senior Director, Communications, Sandy Hook Promise [email protected] | 646-761-5579