Sandy Hook Promise to ramp up action during Safe Schools Week

As school shootings increase, Sandy Hook Promise partners with students, educators and parents to promote prevention programs

NEWTOWN, CT — This week marks Safe Schools Week (October 17-23, 2021), a national call-to-action led by the National School Safety Center. Sandy Hook Promise is organizing a week of events across the country, including National SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) Day on Wednesday, October 20, 2021. 

Driven by the leadership of its National Youth Advisory Board, Sandy Hook Promise’s more than 3,800 SAVE Promise Clubs — in elementary, middle and high schools across the country — are organizing activities to commemorate the founding of SAVE. Students will wear orange on SAVE Day in memory of Alex Orange.

In April of 1989, Alex Orange and other students from West Charlotte Senior High School in North Carolina gathered at a “stop the violence” party. A group of armed students from a rival school crashed the event. As students panicked, 17-year-old Alex stepped forward and told the intruders that the gathering was no place for violence. Alex was shot and killed. The following week, students joined together in their grief to form Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE).

In 2017, SAVE and Sandy Hook Promise combined efforts to educate and empower young people to help prevent gun violence, self-harm, and other forms of violence and victimization. 

In addition to wearing orange on SAVE Day (October 20th), SAVE Promise Clubs in schools across the country will hold events and activities to promote safety. These activities will include SAVE flash mobs, SAVE peace rallies and visibility actions to teach about youth violence, such as poster and ribbon campaigns to share important facts and promote safety. All of the nearly 4000 SAVE Promise Clubs are encouraged to be social advocates on SAVE Day by participating in the #SAVEPromiseClub social media action. Club members are encouraged to share how their clubs are taking action in posts on their favorite social platforms, along with the #SAVEPromiseClub hashtag. A toolkit for the campaign includes graphics and frames that SAVE Promise Club members can personalize.

“Gun violence and school shootings are on the rise; we must take immediate action to save lives,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “SAVE Day focuses on empowering students to take action to prevent school shootings and gun violence from happening.”

Focusing on knowing the signs to prevent violence has been proven to work. 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. They concluded that recognizing concerning behaviors is essential to prevention. Sandy Hook Promise’s “Know the Signs” programs teach what these warning signs are and how to tell a trusted adult to intervene. All are available online at no cost to schools, align with SEL curriculum requirements, and can be delivered in a single class period. 

“If we take proactive steps, we can save countless lives,” 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. “School shootings are preventable when you know the signs and say something to a trusted adult — we need to empower our kids with the support and resources they need to take action in their schools and communities.”

“We cannot stand by as our children are killed by guns every day,” said Hockley. “We need to listen to our kids and partner with and empower them to stop school violence — during Safe Schools Week and every day.”

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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. 

Media Contacts: 

Loretta Kane | [email protected] | 917.410.7242

Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646.761.5579