Newtown, CT — Today, Sandy Hook Promise applauded the introduction of the Safety and Violence Education for Students (SAVE Students) Act in the Ohio State House. This new legislation in Ohio is aimed at combating the crisis of violence, bullying, and suicide that is devastating our nation’s schools. If passed, this bill would set a new national standard for statewide school safety programming.
In response to the introduction of this legislation, Sandy Hook Promise released the following statement: “We know school violence is preventable when we teach youth and adults to ‘know the signs’ of violence and suicide and get help to stop a tragedy before it can happen,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, and father of Daniel who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. “This legislation would protect Ohio’s students across the state and create a national model for prevention that empowers our youth to help save lives.”
The SAVE Students Act was introduced by State Representative Gayle Manning (R) and State Representative Glenn Holmes (D) today in the Ohio House. The legislation would require that all middle and high school students in the state have access to evidence-based programming that teaches how to combat social isolation and build inclusive community, identify the signs and signals of interpersonal violence and suicide, and how to reach out for help. It would also establish a statewide anonymous reporting system to collect tips and information about potential threats to the safety of Ohio students.
Additionally, the SAVE Students Act would ensure that all Ohio schools have a designated school threat assessment team that is trained on how to identify and intervene when threats of violence are made and how to get students help before a crisis. The establishment of school threat assessment teams was a leading recommendation from mental health and safety experts following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.
“This legislation is one step forward in addressing the mental health issues and social isolation among children. As a retired elementary school teacher, I am familiar with the unfortunate reality and the growing problem of social isolation and its effect on children’s’ mental health.,” said Rep. Manning. “I am excited to work with my joint sponsor on a piece of legislation that works to better the lives of children and their mental health.”
“Our students deserve to be supplied with the best possible resources, especially when it comes to their safety and mental health,” Rep. Holmes said. “I’m proud to work with a group like Sandy Hook Promise, who ensures their methods are effective by basing them in evidence and research.”
To date, more than 5.5 million people nationwide have been trained 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.
About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. We are led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 that claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and six educators. Sandy Hook Promise is focused on preventing gun violence (and all violence) BEFORE it can happen by educating and mobilizing parents, schools, and communities on mental health and wellness programs that identify, intervene, and help at-risk individuals. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible non-policy and policy solutions that protect children and prevent gun violence. Our intent is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation. Make the Promise at www.sandyhookpromise.org.
Dini von Mueffling Communications Stephanie Morris: [email protected] | 646-650-5005